It Hurts to Say Goodbye 5

I can count all of my closest friends for the past 60 plus years on the fingers of one hand and probably half of them wouldn’t consider me in their top five.

Blake Blakesley would be one of those.

Blake is a remarkable man and as is typically the case with amazing people the crowd is upon him quickly and always looking for more. As people we crave intimacy with excellence and Blake has a lot of skills, talents and attributes that make him excellent and accessible and as a result Blake gives constantly, because he cares.

18 years ago on a hot summer morning, I wandered into a church which was built in the 1700s and decided to stick around for a while.  It didn’t last long though.  The church was between pastors and the interim pastor quickly became involved in a sexual scandal, so I wandered away, trying out different places, but not really finding a church home.

After a while I heard that the church had finally called a new pastor and went by to see him.  Blake caught my attention. I’ll give him one thing, the guy could preach and another … he could keep his zipper zipped, so Blake became my pastor.

I still remember the first time we were alone in his church office.

Almost the first words out of my mouth were, “I know what it’s like to be new. If you need a friend, I’m here for you.”

Blake looked at me as if I were nuts.

In retrospect, I imagine that the last thing on earth a new pastor needs is yet another person who wants to be his friend.

The last thing on earth I needed at the time was a pastor.

As fate would have it, the choir director of forty years decided to leave unexpectedly and having a masters in choral conducting, I was drafted to fill in quickly.  The quickly extended over the next decade and Blake became my boss.

The last thing on earth I needed at the time was a boss.

Blake definitely had his hands full in the boss department, I’m sure I was a handful and Blake and I were the sole members on the church staff of the male persuasion for a while which kept life on the church staff “interesting” to choose a single word.

Over the next 10 years, I’d say Blake and I became closer to friends than pastor/church member and closer to friends than boss/employee, because Blake started framing our conversation as “I’m saying this as a friend not a pastor” or “I’m saying this as a friend, not a boss.”

And so Blake chose to be my friend.

Which was a good thing for me, because I wanted to be friends with Blake.

I can count all of my closest friends for the past 60 plus years on the fingers of one hand and probably half of them wouldn’t consider me in their top five.

Blake Blakesley would be one of those.

Of course, we knew it wouldn’t last.

Some friendships are destined to come and go and remarkable people have remarkable demands on their time.

Blake has touched the lives of tens of thousands directly and millions indirectly.

I know he touched my life.

Proximity plays a part.  We were in weekly contact for a decade and when I left the job, I knew it would be up to me to make the effort to stay in touch.  We both knew that.

So over the next couple of years, we touched base a couple times.  A stolen lunch.  A daughter’s wedding.

How much joy and comfort we shared together — and sometimes bits of pain.

I’ve known for years that Blake was leaving

It was just a matter of time and of course, I could have made more time for our friendship while he was still near.

That’s the way we are with friendships and the people we care about the most.

But now it’s so.

In June, he leaves for good.

and it hurts to say goodbye.

God brings sunshine into our lives for but a day and then the darkness returns.  But, with every new day the sunshine returns with a brand new light.

I know Blake will be shining somewhere.

Most likely I won’t really have a chance to say goodbye the way that I’d like to.  The crush of the crowd is upon him right now and time alone is the rarest form of treasure Blake has to give.

And there really aren’t any words to say when someone you love goes away anyway.

Except to say, “I love you.”

I love you Blake.

All the best,

Ken McArthur

And many more …



About Ken McArthur

Ken challenges us to realize we ALL have an impact – whether we want to or not – on thousands of people who we touch in our day-to-day lives by demonstrating that simple things make a HUGE difference. The popular host of a series of live events that bring together top-level marketers, entrepreneurs, business owners, corporations and non-profit organizations to create multi-million dollar joint venture relationships – he creates incredible, intense impact for product launches and multi-million dollar profits in surprisingly short timeframes. Regularly asked to speak at leading marketing events, he has managed product launches ranked in the top 400 sites on the Internet. Ken McArthur is also the creator of, a pioneering affiliate program search engine and directory system and the founder of the MBS Internet Research Center, which conducted the world’s largest survey ever attempted on the subject of creating and launching successful information products. Not satisfied to concentrate entirely on large organizations, Ken also works with select individuals to help them create a decent living utilizing the power of the Internet. Ken was the official mentor for Sterling Valentine as he took his launch from ZERO to over $100,000 in less than 8 days. Ken and Sterling documented the process as a “proof of concept” for Info Product Blueprint a massive home study course that is the “bible” of info product creation. Ken offers top-level coaching and mentoring programs designed to help individuals, corporations and non-profit organizations reach masses of people using the techniques, tactics strategies and systems that he has developed specifically to help people spread their ideas, products and services around the globe.

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5 thoughts on “It Hurts to Say Goodbye

  • Bill Clemens

    I know that feeling very well lately, in the past year I have lost more people from my life who I thought were my friends. This past weekend a person who was my Best Friend for about 15 years got married. I have never met his wife, he had a son with her about 3 yrs ago. We have never gotten together, it’s like you said ” Some friendships are destined to come and go” and it hurts. 

    What hurt the most was my wife and I were not even invited to the wedding, we were the ones he called after his drunken nights out and he needed bail money. Or when he got divorced and needed money and help to move and find a new home that was us no one else would even talk to him everyone turned their backs to him except us.  And to not even introduce us to his new wife or family that really put a knife in my heart this past weekend. 

    So I know what your feeling Ken, We just keep moving forward and smile at the memories of the past and look forward to the new friends and memories yet to come our way.

    • Ken McArthur

      Sometimes people just have to move on Bill.  Hopefully, your friend is moving beyond drunken nights, bail bonds and divorce and maybe he just needs to start life fresh.  

      I’m sorry for your pain though.  It might be helpful to remember that most of the pain we feel is self-inflicted caused by our wants and expectations.

      It doesn’t make the pain less real, but it’s nice to know that for a moment in time our life was better because someone touched us deeply.

      All things end except the impact that we have on others.  That can last beyond one life.

      Here’s to the good times!


  • Ernest O'Dell

    Ken, I’m sorry to hear that you’re losing an old friend.  It sounds, from your post, that he is “passing on” to the Big Stage in the Sky: I hope that is not the case.

    You say he’s leaving in June, so maybe it’s just that he’s relocating to another congregation.

    Do stay in touch with him as much as you can.

    I know how the loss of a friend feels: I lost an old buddy of mine a few years back.  We pal’d around Houston for almost 20 years, and then he retired and moved to south Texas.  I moved on to other parts of the world in my programming gigs, but we always stayed in touch on the Internet.

    We always had an appointed time, each evening, around 2200 hours to meet up on Yahoo Games and play bridge.  He was a vicious bridge player, and “took no prisoners”.   Being an old Navy man, and an ex-SEAL, I could understand why he was so ruthless.  We were a lot alike as I spent most of my time with the Marines, even though I was their “Fly Boy”.

    Air Force Special Ops peeps, like myself, were always the butt of the jokes, whether it was hanging around with “grunts, jarheads, or squids”.

    For us, those were terms of affection only known and understood by “a band of brothers”.  It was something my older brother would understand because he was Navy, too.  Thankfully, my younger brother was too young to see war and he was spared the horrors and constant nightmares.

    Then, one night I logged on to the bridge game at Yahoo Games, and Roger didn’t show up.  I knew some of the other players because we always had our “regular” group: much like we had our “regulars” back in the old days in Houston at the coffee shop.

    For several days, no Roger, no show.

    I called his number, because, at the time, he lived just a couple hours south of me.

    (I was living in Blanco, Texas at the time, and this was about the time your daughter took my call one day and you and I talked on the phone about 5 or 6 years ago.)

    I had driven down several times to visit Roger, and we had spent many a weekend on the Texas Gulf coast fishing for the “big’uns” in the surf.  He, also, had come up during deer season and hunted on my ranch.

    I called his phone, but it was disconnected.  I called his brother, Ron, and got his voice mail.

    About two weeks later, Ron called me back and apologized and then told me the bad news: Roger had died of a massive “widow maker” heart attack.  He went out like a light bulb.

    Roger was an old friend.  We always stayed in touch, so it didn’t hurt so bad.

    He got back into church and got active in his congregation, and in town, and actually “got a life” in his retirement.

    It doesn’t always happen that way.  Too many times I hear back from old friends in Houston about another old acquaintance or friend who passed away.

    The loss was there because they’re gone, but I’ll always be grateful for what they added to my life.

    I hope you and Blake can “stay in touch” on a regular basis.

    I lost my old pastor about 3 years ago and his widow and son never called me… so I know what it feels like to be forgotten.

    • Ken McArthur

      Hey Ernest,

      Great friends are a blessing.  Luckily Blake is just moving a couple thousand miles away and not taking off for heaven.

      That said, you could probably count on a single hand the number of  times we will connect before one of us does.

      Out of sight, out of contact is still the usual case even with the great advantage of modern technology and how much easier it is to be connected.

      Reaching out and touching someone is easy these days.

      We just have to remember to do it.

      All the best,


      P.S.  I doubt if Blake could forget me if he wanted to.  Too many conversations and experiences together for either of us to forget.

  • Nathan Brown


    I’m touched to see you send out such a personal email about the loss of our friend.  It’s great to see such openness from someone in the IM niche.I lost a very dear friend of mine a couple of years ago, and my heart goes out to you.

    Nathan Brown
    Integration Broker