For the last few years my old pal Larry came here for Thanksgiving. We always go to friends and have it with their family, so we end up linking several extended families into one. This time Larry wasn't feeling well. Sunday he was having trouble working his computer and still not feeling right. Monday morning he got up, went to the bathroom to shave and collapsed on the bathroom floor. We called the medics and while he lay on the floor I held his hand and told him to hang in there. At the ER we were told he was very sick. His heart was racing, his O2 was bad and then, in a few minutes, he had passed. My best friend, my oldest buddy, was gone.
It's hard to recall a time when I didn't KNOW that if I had a question or needed a shoulder to cry on, Larry was just a phone call away. He would send money so I could fly down to see my son in the ICU, or send a computer for me to play with, or photos of old friends. Larry could fix a computer, repair a car, heal a broken heart. He is the kindest, gentlest man I ever knew.
Last night I had a bonfire for Larry. I cried, I told him how I will miss those hugs, that sweet smile and helping hand. There is a great hole in my life now. Larry is smiling and offering to help, and it's hard to not cry even though I know he'd rather I smiled, rather I looked at the bright side. He wants us to share with one another, to see his life for what it was: continuous love and devotion to friends and family. He is a hard worker, an honest man, a man who loves people so much and yet never married, never had a child to carry on his name. He loves cars and music and phtography and people, not in any particular order.
Larry was the last man left, maybe the last person, who would really listen to me. My rambling thoughts sometimes go in fields that others are afraid to follow, or simply can't see the paths. Larry could always find a way to figure out just what the hell I was talking about. He never doubted me and I never could imagine Larry having a wrong answer or an unkind thought.
The selfishness of sorrow is that we want what we can't have. At the ER they asked me if they could do anything and I said "Give me back my friend."
I suppose we will swear to do better, to honor his memory. We'll lose weight, take walks, write our loved ones more often, try to visit mom and dad before they too pass. We may even do it. We may shake ourselves up and try to give our loved ones as many decades as nature will allow. We will love one another more openly and see beauty in the small things. Some of us will turn our lives around. Some will falter and fail. Over it all, Larry the kind, Larry the gentle....Larry the well loved... will be encouraging us to not worry about the results, that as long as we are trying to be happy it's going to be okay.
But for me it's not okay. I have lost another brother, another dear piece of my heart and the pain will never go away until I can hug him again and show him all the things I've done since we last saw each other. Larry will look at them even if he doesn't find it very funny, or pretty or even sensible, he will look and talk to me about it. We'll talk for years, until the sun fades and goes dark and then we'll talk by the starlight. Teddy and the others sitting around a fire listening to the pipes, watching the beauty and loving one another. I'm pretty tired, but the sun is shining and the birds are chirping and dancing.
See ya later, Larry. Write if you get a chance, call if you can. Don't go far. I'll miss you.