My Mentor’s Last Words Haunt Me

Lori Ballen
4 min readOct 19, 2021


I’m finally ready to talk about it.

My mentor died last month. He posted his last words on Facebook.

Last Words

Photo by Owner


All your prayers, positive thoughts, and personal comments have been special. They have lifted my spirits and inspired me.

But we have just initiated my final DNR, and I will be gone in minutes.

I’m sad about this, of course. I was looking forward to many more years, lots of teaching, and maybe another book.

I’m also sad since I’m not doing a good job of upholding my image as a true faith-based, tough-minded warrior! Which I am and have always been.

I am not giving up, I’m facing reality.

It’s been a great life. What a journey! So many opportunities, so many blessings.

For everyone, I am sad to be leaving you, but I am so happy for all the memories you have given me!

The shocking News

While I knew Dave was in the hospital, I was under the impression that he was recovering. An ongoing optimist, he had been posting news about turning the corner.

I was laying in bed that night. As I often do, I reached over to grab my phone, and there it was — his post.

Within seconds, my phone was blowing up with messages.

I just saw there, after gasping, with my jaw hanging open. I couldn’t move, and didn’t know how to respond.

I didn’t sleep that night, wondering if, or actually when, he passed. I was worried for his wife, and sad for all who loved him.

It was heartbreaking.

Dealing With Death

Dave recorded a podcast not long before he passed.

He had been battling skin cancer, and had decided to share his journey about his thoughts on death. While Dave was up there in years, he was still fiesty, ambitious, and ready to take over the world.

Many years back, Dave went with us on a family vacation. At Disneyland, Dave ran circles around all of the adults, and a few of the kids! He was non stop action, and wanted to do it all.

Photo by Owner: Dave Jenks and Lori Ballen at Disneyland
Photo by owner

So when faced with his own mortality, he wanted to make sure he left the world on his own terms as much as he lived by them.

He decided to create a plan that would allow him to exit, with dignity, should he need to. Creating a DNR was part of that plan.

And when he was told that there was nothing left to rebuild on after Covid knocked him with the final blow, he decided to activate his plan.

And in true Dave fashion, completely ‘on brand’, he posted his last words on Facebook.

A quake was felt across the world. We were shook.

The Haunting

I listened to his podcast the next day. Dave spoke on how he faced death, and the plans he had made to exit on his own terms. I found relief, actually, listening to the podcast.

Besides the comfort of hearing his voice, listening to his plan, knowing he followed it through, made me happy.

These words, however, haunt me.

Don’t wear out, Rust out ~ Dave Jenks

Dave expressed how he always lived life to the fullest. All who knew him, know this is true. He got married to his beautiful wife, Gina in his 70’s, started a new website, and was busy doing speaking engagements til the day he was hospitalized. He truly lived that quote.

Photo by Gina Waterfield

So, why does it haunt me?

Because, since my divorce in 2016, coupled with the Pandemic, I’ve been reclusive. It felt safe to live in my bubble, and not venture out. I stopped traveling, speaking at live events, and have even turned down many virtual events, for fear of being vulnerable.

I never cared about vulnerability much, before. So, essentially, I’m on the path of rusting, I guess.

This amazing man is even mentoring me from the other side. That’s so on brand, for Dave.

The Man

Photo by Lori Ballen

If you knew Dave Jenks, I’m sorry for your loss. If you didn’t know Dave, I’m sorry for your loss.

He touched everyone, wherever he went.

He played hard, lived large, and loved big. He was a seeker, a scholar, and a friend. He was a mentor, a guide, and a leader.

He was an author, speaker, and writer. Magic with his words, he was a wizard.

He changed my life and many who were lucky enough to have his wisdom. The world is a little darker for me, without Dave in it.

But he lives in through his wife, his family, his students, his mentees, and his words that can still be accessed on podcasts, and videos.

Dave Jenks was loved.

Here’s to wearing out, and not rusting out. ❤️



Lori Ballen

Lori's passion for blogging and commitment to empowering others is evident in her comprehensive, easy-to-follow articles.