What Clint Miller Taught Me About Life

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Clint Aaron Miller
March 8, 1971 – December 11, 2011

It is not often that I sit and stare at a computer screen, and have no idea what to write…

Last night, Clint Miller passed away after an incredibly courageous battle with testicular cancer. Cancer that spread to his brain and elsewhere. It ravaged his body, but it could not touch that man’s huge heart.

Clint was 40 years old, and left behind a wonderful wife and some beautiful children.

He also left a legacy second to none, and taught me a lot about life.

I first met Clint three-something years ago when I sent him a Tweet, or an email, I don’t remember which, asking him why I kept getting “sales crap” from his company after I had unsubscribed. Within minutes after sending that message my phone rang. It was Clint calling, and apologizing for the snag, and promising to never send me another thing unless I asked.

What would normally be a 15 second phone call turned into 30 minutes. We talked about real estate, our families, sports, music, food and who knows what else. 30 minutes after I flamed the man I almost bought a subscription to his product just because I liked the guy so damn much.

Almost…   (It is a great product and service, I just don’t happen to need it).

That 30 minute call blossomed swiftly into a great friendship.

Over the ensuing months and years, Clint and I conversed frequently, almost always through social media channels. We got to know each other. We talked, we laughed, we helped each other in business. And in life.

I never got another sales pitch from Clint.

In February of this year, Clint was diagnosed with Stage 3C testicular cancer. In typical Clint style, he was totally transparent about his diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.

Oh God, the treatment. Multiple rounds of chemotherapy. Radiation. Removal of the cancerous testicle. Multiple brain surgeries. Hospital stays, countless tests, time in the ICU, you name it, cancer threw it at him.

And the entire time, the entire time, he fought back with utterly remarkable strength, grace and courage. He educated us, encouraging men to self-examine themselves. He lauded his wife and kids. He cracked jokes. Some were hilarious, some not-so-much.  He asked what he could do for us.

Read that last part again. Asked what he could do for us

There wasn’t any self-pity, though he was certainly more than entitled to a healthy dose of that. No, Clint Miller was worried about others. Family, friends and mere acquaintances. He encouraged us to live each day of  life to its fullest. To watch sunrises and sunsets. To be kind to each other. To love each other.

The man whose body was being ravaged by this insidious disease was a beacon of light and hope.

What did Clint Miller teach me about life?

A lot.

He taught me about what is truly important — my family, and my friends. He taught me to “seize the day,” to, as put by Henry David Thoreau, “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”

Clint Miller lived deep and got more out of life in his far too short 40 years than most of us will garner in a normal life span.

That’s a hell of a life-lesson, and I thank my friend for that.

Two days before Clint died, I recorded the video embedded below. He was so sick at the end that I don’t think he ever saw it. But that’s OK because he knew how so many people felt about him. Many of you reading this have seen the video, some have not. I present it again because I think it captures some of what my friend Clint was all about, and I want you to know how loved he was (fair warning, contains a little “salty language).

Godspeed Clint. Don’t worry about Angela and the kids. They’re family now too, and a whole lot of people have their backs. Rest in peace my friend.

Thanks Mike Mueller

An important message from one of Clint’s daughters: “everyone keeps asking if there is anything they can do to help me well there is one thing! tell all the men in ur life to check themselves that way they don’t have to go through what my dad did bring awareness to this heartless disease that’s all I want. thank u all for keeping me and my family in ur hearts.”

There must be something in the Miller gene pool that makes them care about other people so much. So do it fellows… And tell your sons to do it too. Men over the age of 14 should do monthly exams. Here’s how.

ON DONATING

This is a pretty lousy time of year to ask people to donate money, but let’s be brutally honest — it’s a REALLY lousy time to die. People have asked though, so here is how you can make donations to help Clint’s remarkable family:

Clint Miller Memorial and Benefit Site

Every dollar counts…

Others opine:
I’m going to try to collect other posts here honoring Clint. Let me know if you have one and I’ll add it.

Memorial Information

Services will be held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Missoula, MT on Saturday, December 17, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. (Mountain time)

Live streaming: The plan right now is to live stream the services here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/weloveclint#events

 

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About the Author
Jay Thompson

I'm a real estate broker in Phoenix, Arizona and the publisher of the Phoenix Real Estate Guy blog. I tend to drive too fast and scream at the University of Texas and Denver Broncos football teams. My two kids are smarter than most adults I know and my wife is simply amazing.

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  1. My condolences on the loss of your friend, Jay. Clint taught us all a ton.

    Peace to his family, and his friends, and to you.

  2. Agi Anderson says:

    Very touching Jay, I cried with you. You are such a brave soul to share your heart felt emotions. I admire and respect you more than ever. Clint is in a better place, you’re right no more suffering. We watched our daughter Kate suffer with Leukemia, it was so incredibly painful not being able to help her. I asked Kate to greet Clint at the Pearly Gates.
    Clint, Kate and so many others … let them be a reminder to us all ~ every moment truly matters :(

  3. The celebrations of his life that now dot the internet are a testament to the quality of the man.

    RIP Clint

  4. Jay – You know I always struggle when commenting on here, because I often sound like a spammer “great post, I agree, well said” but the truth is, you’re one hell of a writer and always capture my thoughts before I write then down.

    I’m going to share my Clint story later today, but for now I’ll just say “ditto.”

    Rock on Clint.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Thanks Matt. Tough post to write through the tears…

      Rock on is right. He will be greatly missed.

      • I had to take a day to write mine, because I didn’t want it to be one long angry anti-cancer rant with lots of old fashioned cussing. ;)

        Thanks for maintaining the list…I always wind up deferring to you on those, you’re like the curator of real estate blogs. I guess that makes this blog a museum of sorts. I like that thought.

  5. Jody Keating says:

    What an amazing testament Jay, to a man who touched so many lives. I only knew him through twitter and facebook and he was one of the first people I ever ‘talked’ to on twitter. Thank you for bringing it to us and for sharing your story of him with us.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Jody, I can’t count how many times today I’ve heard, “Clint was one of the first people I ever talked to on Twitter”. Doesn’t surprise me. The man loved people, and life and friendships.

  6. Jay, I have to say that his family popped in my mind when I saw the news- I hope there is a conduit where those of us who share that concern can make our contribution.

  7. CIndy Jones says:

    Clint was known to many even if it was only through our social media connection. His fight taught us about strength and courage. His family will be in my prayers.

  8. Anita Clark says:

    Clint was a courageous man and an inspiration to so many. My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to Angela and the kids! You left a very heartfelt video Jay that is echoed by so many.

  9. I have only known him virtually all these years, but was always one I spoke with, laughed with and teased with and before all this ravaged him, always one of my favorites personality wise. Never the pretentious person – he was just a touchable, awesome man that was as real as they could come and was never afraid to echo his honest, raw thoughts. Something I loved so dearly about him … I only knew him virtually but I cried so hard to know he was gone. I lost my dad in his 40s, and though he was more like a brother, to lose such an angel, sassy and funny guy like him – hit home. Peace to you Clint our good friend … and though that void and loss will be so big in your families heart, I hope the love of his on and offline community can comfort them some …

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Boy, you hit the nail on the head with the perfect descriptive adjectives Heather: touchable, awesome, non-pretentious, honest, raw… that was Clint!
      So sorry to hear about the loss of your father at such a young age. :(

  10. Debe Maxwell says:

    Jay, I never had any idea how the two of you met but, just last night, I was telling my husband about the ‘history’ of Clint and I. We started our friendship nearly the exact SAME way as you two did! He IMMEDIATELY phone and we struck up a friendship. When my husband was in the hospital three different times this year, Clint private messaged me asking what he could do for US! Clint comforted ME when he was the one who was, indeed, dealt the crappy hand.

    Being a former nurse, I’ve seen patients with unbelievable courage. His courage – I’ve never seen anything like it; I’ve never seen anyone fight like he did. His message was loud and clear–he wanted people to LEARN from HIS experience. This very treatable disease is NOT talked about nearly enough. It’s something that every man should learn about as a BOY but, it’s simply not discussed.

    I believe he set us all up, Jay, to make sure that everyone around us knows about self-examination–and DOES it on a regular basis. Spread the word in honor of our beloved friend Clint.

    -Debe

  11. Jun Sanchez says:

    Hello Jay,

    I never knew Clint nor read anything about him until now. With the way you turned your feelings towards your beloved friend into words, I now believe that he was indeed a great man. I’m sorry for your loss.

    Even Lance Armstrong has this to say about Clint: “Sad to wake up to the news of Clint Miller’s passing. I wish I could have met the man that was so loved by so many. RIP Clint.”

  12. Kimberly Barton says:

    I am saddened. I only knew Clint via social media. He did share. He did care. He was stong. I remember how touched I was when he mentioned he was making cookies with his kids. He seemed so happy in that little moment. He will be missed.

  13. Jay – Clint was an amazing man and brought together so many in a community by being so transparent with what he went through – and he went through a lot. God Speed Clint, and thanks Jay for this great article.

  14. Jay, Clint is leaving behind a legacy for all of us. I have never met a man as brave as Clint, except you. You always bring us together when a friend is suffering and you are the first man up to the plate reminding all of us that we need to help. You will never know the respect I have grown to have for you while watching you guide us all through what seems to be too damn many losses.

    Clint will be smiling down at all of us and we will smile back. What he has done for all of us is short of miraculous. Put others first, be honest and transparent…something our industry sorely lacks overall.

    I too met Clint when he called me trying to “sell me leads”. I ripped him one and I have NO idea how the conversation flipped to light hearted and friendship…but it did. He was one of my first online friends and always checked in on me. He “poked” the hell out of me. Last week, he poked me again. Funny how such small things can bring a smile to our faces. I will miss his pokes, laughter and love of life. I’ll miss his music, his love of food, his love of life and family. I’ll miss our friendship. I’m truly broken right now. A good man with a beautiful family was taken far too soon.

    Keep guiding us Jay and we will follow. You are a born leader and for that, I am grateful. We need a leader right now :(

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Wow, thanks Elizabeth for your very kind words. I appreciate them. Isn’t it funny how swiftly and effectively Clint brought us around? Speaks volumes about the man…

  15. Paula Henry says:

    Jay – I didn’t know Clint, except from what his friends like you have written about him. You Jay, are such a “real” person – I sit here in tears after reading your message to Clint. It touched my heart. Thanks for showing us the man you knew – I’m certain his family will treasure your words and sentiment. Blessings Jay, I know how difficult these things are for you.

  16. Wow, I’m so sad to learn about Clint’s passing. I saw your video and I posted Clint’s blog “What I learned from Having Boys” on Facebook for my friends to see. It was so funny; I wanted people to have a laugh with him before he went. I’m not pretending to be his friend, we had two or three interactions on Twitter, but he touched my life in an important way. I’m the father of three and OMG if I had to leave my kids I don’t know how I would do it. I doubt I would have had the strength he did. He has inspired me.

  17. He was such an inspriration to so many people. Every where I look I am reading posts about Clint Miller passing. I wish I had known him better…like the comment above I won’t pretend to be his friend, he probably didn’t even know me, but I did feel like I knew him from all the posts I have read on Twitter, AR, FB, etc. His family and friends will definitely be in my prayers.

  18. Clint was truly a rarity, especially in the ‘Leads-for-Sale’ space. He actually made it legitimate and of value, and mainly because Clint was a man of integrity. You could trust him and take him at his word, unlike so many fly-by-night outfits who promise you the Moon and bill your credit card until the cows come home. There was nothing canned or contrived about Clint. What you saw was what you got, and boy, what we all got was uniquely amazing and genuine!

  19. TheRECoach says:

    Well said Jay, well said … R.I.P. Buddy, in addition to Jay’s words, you taught me the power of Social Media, I never met you IRL (my loss), yet I came to care about you, respect you, and listen to your teachings.

    It’s not ironic, it’s actually fitting, that my firsts words of condolences, to you and your family, have taken place on Facebook and the Blog of a mutual friend.

    Miss him already,

  20. After the words (and they are good, strong and passionate words), it’s the image of a man and his son and the love they share that brings the most tears to my eyes.
    Both my kids are getting unexpected hugs when they get home from school today.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      That is one powerful image isn’t it Andrew? I’ve hugged my kids more the last couple of days. They are 18 and 20 and at first looked at me like I was crazy…

  21. Cary says:

    I’m sure he will be missed. Just a note that he was a wee bit younger and left us at 40, not 41.

  22. as much as I try I can’t stop the tears from falling – funny thing is it is not so much about his passing but of how unfair it is that he will not see his grandchild be born – walk his daughter down the isle or see the littler guys hit their first home run or score their first touch down… this is so unfair – no one ever said life was fair but this just pisses me off – he was an amazing man – and will be remembered by many

  23. I didn’t know Clint, but I have read over the past several months all of he great things that people had to say about him and how highly he was regarded. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend and to his family my heart and my sympathies go out.

  24. Jay- Clint was a special man to many that influenced so many more. I put my thoughts together here: http://210consulting.com/2011/12/12/live-each-day-as-there-is-no-tomorrow-lessons-learned-from-clint-weloveclint/

  25. Clint loved you Jay. We are stronger, wiser and closer because of Clint. I am grateful to you and all the friends we share via Clint. Hugs.

  26. sara bonert says:

    When I think of Clint I remember sitting in church trying to pray for him when the whole ordeal started. I too, like most, met him through social media – specifically twitter. I remember sitting there not being able to remember his last name, just his twitter handle. So I prayed for @therealclint and hoped that God knew twitter accounts. I think he does. RIP @therealclint

  27. Thanks for sharing such a deep, emotional story with us Jay. I found your post on G+. Glad I did. This sucks and it really sucks for those left behind. I’m so sorry. My you and his family feel some peace.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Thanks Tammy. I appreciate your thoughts. It truly does suck. On the bright side, and something Clint would find interesting too is you finding this on G+. I don’t get much traffic from there. I like G+, a lot. I just haven’t had time to invest in it.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

  28. Debbie Gartner aka "The Flooring Girl" says:

    Jay – I am so so so sorry. Your video was touching and I’ve read several posts. I’m a big fan of his and I have to say it’s been a tough week here at AR losing two wonderful people to cancer.

    I’m so glad you spreading the word for everyone to check. That can make a huge difference. So even though this is so terribly sad, at least you are doing a world of good by spreading the word and saving so many others.

    Debbie

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Self-examination is **critical** and it sounds like VERY few men do it. I’m not sure why as there are people working very hard to get the word out.

      Tough week indeed. Thanks for stopping by Debbie.

  29. Amy Stoehr says:

    Jay, you are awesome to share your feelings with the Millers. What a gift. Hugs and love to you!

  30. Jay, we kept praying for a miracle, but it didn’t come in the form of healing Clint to stay here. The miracle was the way he and his family handled his whole illness and the way a community rose around them for moral and financial support. Thank you for this beautiful tribute to Clint and Angela and the children.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      That’s a great way to look at it Sharon. Would I rather have Clint around? You bet I would. But the man (and Angela) were REMARKABLE in how they handled this. They’ve taught a lot of us an awful lot about how to live. It’s a blessing in disguise…

  31. Jay – Clint touched so many lives and so many will feel the loss.

  32. Mike Kalam says:

    Clint was clearly loved and his memory shall live on, he sounds like a great guy and I will be forwarding the article onto my email list.

  33. Marc Davison says:

    Jay,

    I read this post last night at midnight, watched your video, hugged my sleeping wife and then sat inside my youngest sons room for hours (he’s got a comfy pillow chair) until I finished writing a letter to him, his brothers and sister that I hope they don’t read for a long time to come. I didn’t sleep much after that. Was out of bed by 5:00, took a walk and came to the office where I read this post again, watched your video again and sent a prayer up to Clint.

    People like him don’t die. They move on to a new place. And it’s people like you who serve to keep his spirit alive here. In this place. Where bad things often happen to good people. But I believe Jay, that in the grand scheme, they happen for a reason. Their experience, leaves a mark on those who are left behind reminding us of what is really important. Family. Friends. And making the most of every day. You are not grieving alone bro. And trust that all this collective celebration of Clint’s life has risen to where he is now – in heaven – at peace.

    You are a loving, caring, soldier of humanity Jay. Clint’s passing reminds me and I think all of us here, how fortunate we all are that you are here to keep us focused on what matters and what’s important. (I’m referring to your RTB post on Facebook as well).

    I grieved last night. Today, I am going to celebrate his legacy and your post.

    Marc

  34. I,m so sorry to the family for their loss he sounded like a wonderful guy and thanks to his daughter full the comment she made bout if any one wants to help then go getchecked so they dont have to go thru what her wonderful dad did i will make it a point to get tested at least once a month

  35. Condolences to you Jay. This is a very touching post.

  36. very moving story he sounds like a very special guy who will not be forgotten.

  37. I’m late to post. Have seen so many tributes to Clint since his passing….this one forced the removal of my ‘Man Card’. Really enjoyed reading Marc’s post as well.

  38. MichaelWoods says:

    Seize the day indeed. It’s a shame it takes getting sick for most people to realize how precious life really is.

  39. Ruth Rodie says:

    wow – love this site.  Thanks for being so transparent and real.  It is refreshing and a joy – despite the hard nature of the topic – cancer and death.  As a nurse this is what I see a lot – and it is wonderful to see that people can maintain a sense of community and love through such hardships.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Thompson wrote (and filmed) a beautiful piece about our friend and he’s great at making lists of blog posts that relate to a topic…his list of Clint [...]

  2. [...] today my friend Clint Miller will be laid to rest. Earlier this week Clint lost a brutal 10 month battle with cancer. He was 40 [...]

  3. [...] two months ago today, Clint lost his gallant fight against [...]

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