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Heart of Utah | Opinion “I haven’t missed out on a thing”

Kyle Brown holds a flag as he crosses the finish line (Lindsay Aerts, KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — We aired a Heart of Utah report this morning on KSL Newsradio that stayed with me, as powerful stories sometimes do. Reporter Lindsay Aerts shared with us the story of Kyle Brown who was diagnosed last month with terminal ALS but didn’t let that keep him from competing in the Ironman 70.3 Championship in St. George.

I believe anyone who finishes an Ironman competition is inspiring, but to compete with those kinds of physical limitations, throwing up while you’re swimming, cramping every mile of the run, is more than my weak heart can imagine. 

Even with those overwhelming challenges, that’s not the part of the story that has me writing this article. The part I can’t stop thinking about is what he said to Lindsay after the race was over.

I hate to say this, but I can die happy. I really can. I’m not lacking anything. I haven’t missed out on a thing.

I haven’t missed out on a thing.

Kyle is younger than me, and is newly married. It would be easy, understandable even, for him to feel cheated. The doctors told him he only had between six and eighteen months to live in March of this year. I try to put myself in his shoes and wonder – could I say that? Could I say, and mean it, that I haven’t missed out on a thing?

I know I didn’t feel that way when I was in my 20’s. Back then I thought I had to write a New York Times bestseller before I died or my life would be without meaning. I thought I had to be a millionaire who could take month-long vacations anywhere in the world I wanted to go.

I was young and stupid, too young to understand that I loved and was loved, and therefore I was not lacking anything.

I’m not sure at what age I finally figured out that I could die happy, but I think it was sometime in the last ten years. I want more time, certainly. I hope I get to see the boys grow up, maybe start families of their own, but if that’s not to be, I feel as rich and blessed with love in my life as I think a human being could be. I would die with a full heart if it happened today.

What else could a human being ask for? I long ago realized that money and prestige and accomplishment are all deceivingly overrated. Now, I seek only to learn and love, and I am blessed with opportunities to do both every day. 

Thank you Lindsay for going to St. George to bring us the truly inspirational story of Kyle Brown, he really does exemplify the Heart of Utah. Thank you Kyle for living your life in such a way that you’ve lifted thousands of other lives.

May God be with you on your journey as I pray he is with all of us. 

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