One of my neighbors passed away this morning at the very young age of 50. That will either sound young to you or very old, but when you’re my age (46), it is very young and much too soon. He had been battling a rare illness for about ten months but was reportedly on the mend. His wife saw him yesterday and said he was doing unbelievably well. She expected him to be home from the hospital in time for his 18 year old son’s high school graduation next month and their 25th anniversary in June. He won’t be.
I’m devastated. My heart breaks for my friend who lost her best friend and for the children who will navigate their adulthood without a father. It’s so horribly sad. Death sucks. It doesn’t matter when it hits. It cuts deeply even when it isn’t a complete surprise. We mourn the loss of a fellow comrade, a friend, a parent, a truly wonderful person in a world where, let’s be honest… there are a lot of creeps. I’ve spent the last few hours consoling an inconsolable friend and marveling at the fragility of life. I’ve said it many times on this blog but I’ll say it again…. life is a gift. It is precious. It’s easy to get lost in the myriad of daily drama or the sheer boredom of an uninspiring routine. It’s easy to get caught up in politics, personal agendas and the fear that nothing is fair or right in the world. But it’s important to stop every once in while and appreciate the things and people who are right and good.
I’m sad for my friend and her family. I’m sad for our circle of friends who equally devastated by this loss. He was a good man with twinkling eyes and a wry sense of humor. When he stopped to say hello to you or ask about your family, you knew it was because he really wanted to know. He went out of his way to be kind to our oldest son in his teenage years when he was struggling to fit in as a young gay kid who was still unsure of what that meant. He was pleased to know our son was going to school in San Francisco and always asked after him when he ran into us. His kindness will always be remembered.
As will his sense of humor, because at the end of the day, I’m a sucker for a wicked sense of self-deprecating humor. Before he got sick, our neighbor used to go to a local spin class with my husband. If you’ve never to spin, just imagine going to a dance club where the music is bumping and generally it’s a mash-up of popular hip-hop tunes because the idea is to keep your energy high and your blood pumping. My husband came back from one class laughing hard because our very conservative neighbor, (the guy always wore collared shirts, made sure his car was washed and shiny, and his garden was pristine… you can picture it) showed up to the Saturday morning class where the teacher played a Jay Z remix. Every other word was “mother fuckin’ fuck”. Even my husband who actually likes Jay Z and isn’t overly bothered by racy lyrics and gratuitous expletives thought it was in poor taste. He started to gripe about it to our neighbor who turned to him with a straight face and said, “Dude, I love this song. I was listening to it on my way here.”
Rest in peace dear friend. Thank you for your kindness, your sense of humor and your friendship. You will be sorely missed and always remembered.