New Year's Eve rang in this morning with news that a lifelong friend had died, and with it, came a day devoted to writing a Memorial for him. Because of the holidays, and his pre-expressed wishes for an absolutely private service, almost no one has heard the news, and for a while, it will be able to stay that way. Not long. He was beloved by many, known by very, very few.
He lived a tremendous life. I have spent the day calling a few people, and putting off most others. It would be nice for them to welcome the new year without knowing something so unbearably sad.
I also know that unless they were on the call list, he wouldn't much care if they ever find out. The time for them to think of him -- to go see him and call him and invite him to dinner -- was long before his last few days. I am happy for the holidays and special occasions he was able to celebrate at my house this past year.
Because his death was so unexpected (no long vigil at a hospital bed), I found myself thinking all day: what would he want? what would he do? I believe he would want very little time wasted on grief or ceremony, and a lot of time spent celebrating his life by trying to do more of what he did -- which was walkin' his talk. If somebody was hungry, he fed them. If they were homeless, he took them in. He never screened a call. If he was alive, he picked up and asked what you needed. If someone was cold, he gave them the coat off his back. That's not an expression. He really did that. I saw him do it.
I went through the entire holiday season without experiencing one moment of faith, but I find myself clinging to one now, in my hope and belief that he is in a better world, because he was sure too damn good for this one.