A couple of weeks ago, I decided I needed a break from my everyday life. Normally, for me, when I feel like this, I get on a plane and explore some new far-away place. But for the past year, since around October of 2016, my own health had been a bit spotty, and I had taken a break from extensive travel. I will hopefully be well enough to go back to my usual ways around January 2018, and am really looking forward to that, but in the meantime, I recently took a staycation.
My friend Gary died this week (I drafted this Saturday), on September 13th.
We first met around 1995 at college. He was the immediate past executive editor of a campus newspaper where I eventually became business manager. His role at the paper meant that my initial sense of him was that he was the boss. Some of those college adventures were experiences that inspired part of a novel I once wrote (novel, not memoir- it is a novel written in memoir style). As our respective lives unfolded, we stayed in touch, and when he got married, his wife and I connected, which cemented our ongoing friendship--22 years of friendship at the time of his passing.
Gary touched many lives, in various ways. Right now I am trying to distill what I learned from him, as I consider my own life during this staycation:
Gary’s immeasurable kindness was subtle; he shared friendship and support, all the while being unobtrusive and non-invasive. He enjoyed making pies and sharing recipes, peppering dinner conversations with vocal impressions from literature and Monty Python jokes. He had strong opinions on what kind of beer should go with chili, sometimes commenting with such conviction, like it was the most important thing *ever*-- which I found calming.
Sometimes we debated ICANN policy, or traded perspectives on data retention. Mostly we talked about cats.
I can’t believe he’s gone.
It’s relevant for me that he passed near Rosh Hashanah. I took my staycation to conclude around then, a symbolic decision about taking some time to contemplate, aiming for an improved perspective, while observing the cycle of life.
I will take his example of prudent, quiet support into the next year, and beyond.
Thank you, Gary.