Tag Archive | rest in peace

Memorial

Hey you…

You weren’t supposed to die this soon. You weren’t supposed to die like this. You weren’t supposed to leave me wondering if I’m now at that age where my people die.

We didn’t want the same thing out of life.  I was the shy introvert who always felt awkward around your friends. You were the larger than life extrovert. I wanted the quiet career and the white picket fence (I still don’t have that fence by the way).  But for that four years starting with the Halloween after I turned 18, you were my people. My first roommate. My first adult relationship. The one who taught me about love.

You wanted to be in a metal band. To make it big. I hated metal and wanted to be in bed by 9:30 – well maybe midnight back then… You stayed out all night going to band practice and playing Dungeons and Dragons, while I studied and watched M*A*S*H before bed. I never worried about what you were up to because band practice and Dungeons and Dragons was your obsession. I knew where you had been because the smell of that damned pizza on your sweat when you crawled into bed.

You were a genius. One of the smartest people I ever knew. You knew so much about history. We used to talk about it when I was learning things in school. I always wondered why you didn’t want to go back and get a degree. 

We shared my car until you got your own.  You borrowed the money from my parents.  Do you remember how you would get off work late on the day the payment was due, and even though I would try to convince you to do it tomorrow, you insisted on driving over to my parents house that night so you could make the payment on time.  My dad always respected that about you.  I wonder if you have seen dad up there in Heaven and have had the chance to catch up. 

You bought me my first legal drink at 21.  You nursed my hangover when that night ended up like most 21 year old birthdays do.  You made sure I didn’t feel so adrift at parties.  You were always a better cook than me. And your bathroom habits set the standard to which I compare every man since you. Every parent should teach their sons so well how to keep a bathroom clean.

We had lots of good days together, as broke kids just starting out, even though we were destined to go our separate ways. I loved you. You were kind. You treated me well. Those who came after you could have learned a thing or many from you.

We stayed friends after we broke up, after we got through that awkward phase.  I hope we both recognized we were good people who just wanted something different from life. I know I always thought you were a good man.

I see all your friends’ tributes to you on Facebook, and I feel removed from them. Most of them don’t know me. I came from a time before. My pictures are from a time when we almost children.  Now your oldest daughter is older than we were then.  My pictures have fresh young faces unmarked by time, and the weight of life. But I see the grief in your friends’ words, and I feel that too. I feel their pain. I feel what they feel so profoundly that it makes my heart ache and the tears fall in torrents.

I could never get behind all those cheesy sayings you did later on.  It’s the introvert in me. It’s the Virgo in me too.  I never wanted to be on stage, to be the center of attention the way you did. But you connected people with those cheesy sayings and made people feel valued and seen. That was your gift. I wish more people had that gift and used it. I wish some of the men that came since you had that gift and used it.

God speed Jeff. I know your soul is free and you will shine down on me and everybody else who is hurting with your loss. Vaya con Dios.

April 27, 1975 – May 25, 2021

 

Rest in Peace Biz

Today, at about 3:20 pm, Biz crossed over the rainbow bridge.  It was a nice, spring day, and he went outside for one last day in the sunshine before he came inside, lay down, and was suddenly gone.

He was 32 years old, and had used up at least 17 lives, so it wasn’t a surprise, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.

My parents bought Biz for me when I was 14 years old, in January 1990, over 30 years ago.  He was a two year old at the time, with no common sense, but he never really acquired much of that.  He was spastic his entire life, spooking at nothing, barging through doorways and gates, always in a rush to get in for dinner.  Unless it was spring, when on nice days, he would decide he wanted to stay outside, and whoever was trying to catch him could just go pound sand…

He was always high spirited, and full of piss and vinegar.  He trotted around, blowing and snorting, with his tail in the air whenever he had the chance.

The first time I tried to give him an apple, he didn’t know what it was, and wouldn’t eat it, so I gave it to his neighbor.  You better believe he never made that mistake again!

He let the cats ride him, but he loved to chase the dogs, and bite the cows.

He had a special talent for injuring himself or getting sick and was close to death at least four times that I can think of.  He had an immense capacity for healing.  He proved the vets wrong time and time again, living through horrific wounds, incredibly high fevers, equine influenza, suspected salmonella poisonings (yes that’s plural).  We made bets on whether he would go out in a blaze of glory, or just lie down and go when it was time.

He was patient about being poked and prodded, unless you wanted to poke or prod his face.  That required the good drugs…

He was a pain in the ass, but a sweet one at that.

 

I’m incredibly sad, but he lived a very good life, and he didn’t have to suffer a long, slow decline.  Rest in Peace, Biz.

Rest in Peace, Larry

I found out on Wednesday night that my former boss passed away on Monday.  As far as I know he wasn’t sick.  He was going on a fly fishing trip in early October and had still been working and vacationing.  He was in his late seventies though; that age when even if someone’s death is a shock, it isn’t necessarily a surprise.

I knew Larry for seventeen years.  I met him when I took a few classes at the community college after I got my MBA and graduated in the middle of a recession.  I interned for him, and he took me under his wing.  He took me to meetings, gave me projects to build my skills in my career field, and exposed me to influential people in the community.  He didn’t have to do any of it…  He was a true mentor.

He helped me get my first career job, calling my soon-to-be-supervisor to give me a great reference.  I got the job.  Then when an opening came up where Larry worked and I had interned, he called me to let me know he wanted me to come back and work for him.  We worked together for eight years until he retired in 2009.

Larry taught me a piece of career wisdom that I will never forget.  You work someplace as long as it works for you.  There is no faster way to make your life suck than to dislike your job.  The people are just as important as the work, and those people aren’t likely to change, at least not fast enough for it to matter.  You spend too much time there to be unhappy.  The same is true for your personal relationships.

He showed me that you can be professional and still have a great sense of humor.  He loved to lighten the mood in a tough situation, and didn’t take life, or himself, too seriously.  I loved working for him.

Larry and I stayed friends over the years, through different jobs of mine and consulting work of his, to personal joys and trials.  He moved to Nevada for a sunnier and more affordable retirement, but we stayed in touch through texts, phone calls and visits.  He was frequently back in my area doing consulting work, which let us get together from time to time over a bottle of red wine.

I talked to him about getting together in Nevada in October while I was on my road trip, but he was out of town on the days that I was there.  I didn’t know at the time that it would be the last time we talked.

True friends come along rarely in this world, and I will always be grateful that I had the experience of having a boss and mentor become a real friend.  I know a lot of people felt that way about him.

Rest in peace, Larry.  You are very, very missed.