The grieving parents were going through their son's papers on his desk when they found it, a virtual letter from the grave. Isaac Klosterman had just died after his motorcycle was struck on a Florida highway by a hit-and-run driver in a Dodge pickup, and suddenly there was his life's plan in the hands of his mother and father, Lillian and Jeff, who only wished their oldest of five children had a chance to honor his own code.
They had found Isaac's personal mission statement, and they believe he authored it shortly before his death on May 18, 2008. The Klostermans of Dayton, Ohio, treasure it as much today as they treasure the sweetest memory of their son. They find it incredible that a 26-year-old would sit down and write the following words:
My chief aim in life is to do my very best in every endeavor I choose to undertake. I hold myself responsible to do more than is required in everything I do. I will become an honest, caring, fun, responsible, loving, considerate, active, healthy, successful, and mentally tough person.
I hereby make the decision to be honest in all my dealings with other people. I will also be honest with myself. I will care for others as I would want them to care for me. I will think before speaking as to remain considerate of other people's feelings. I will be a fun person to be around. People will seek me out for company because of my light-hearted and fun personality.
I will love. To do that, or any of the other characteristics I set here, I must first love myself. I will embrace myself with open arms and let God take care of what I cannot do by myself. I will lead an active and healthy lifestyle so that I may remain in good health. This good health will allow me to live to over 100 years in age. I will be successful in all business and personal endeavors because I will be passionate and tenacious. I will give service to others to help improve their lives. Through service I will be reminded of all I have to be thankful for.
Isaac Klosterman, former club volleyball player at the University of Dayton, is the story behind the best story in golf. His heart now beats for Erik Compton, the two-time heart transplant recipient who finished tied for second at the U.S. Open and who is about to play in his third major of the season, the PGA Championship, with a spot in next spring's Masters already tucked inside his bag.
The Klostermans will be watching Compton at Valhalla, just as they watched him contend at the U.S. Open in June, when the 34-year-old finished below par just to prove that heart No. 3 had defeated Pinehurst No. 2.
"Isaac was competitive, adventurous, did his best in everything and didn't waste a minute of his life," his mother said. "We're all thrilled Erik is the same kind of guy, and someone who is taking full advantage of the gift."
The ultimate gift.
"We don't consider it Isaac's heart now," Lillian Klosterman said. "It's Erik's heart. It's his. And we don't want him to feel any remorse that it came from our loss."
Before Isaac boarded his BMW touring motorcycle for the long trip from Ohio to Florida in spring 2008, Lillian hugged him for the longest time. "He'll be back!" Jeff told his wife, and Lillian still wonders whether she knew deep down this would be the last time she held her boy.