I am indebted to Jerome Downes who inspired this conversation, and to
Michel-Joy DelRe and to Nancy Zapolski who contributed material.
I don't need the choir of angels and the violins.
Neither of them are necessary or appropriate accompaniments or
accoutrements for me to say thank you to you,
a true friend,
a partner, an ally, a trail blazer, an inspiration, a giant, an
ordinary human being, a teacher,
a student, a manager, an executive, a trainer, a
a husband, a father, a team player, a leader,
and an all round great guy. In fact, they'll only get in the way.
We're somehow always caught off guard, somehow always implausibly
surprised when we get the news people have gone. Speaking only for
myself, I'm surprised we're surprised. I'm quite OK with this
mortal coil eventually running out of gas as it
does. Really I am. I'm not bothered by it at all. I'm not saddened by
it either. This is the way it is with us human beings. To not confront
it or to disregard it or to ignore it is to live a life of ungrounded
Speaking further only for myself, the only time I'm bothered or
saddened when I get the news a person has gone is if I haven't had or
haven't taken the opportunity to express everything there
is to be said between us, leaving
between us getting in the way of I Love You. I'm bothered and /
or saddened when I get the news a person has gone only if there's
something between us left unsaid getting in the way of I Love
You because if there is, then the possibility of
relationship is unfulfilled. And in our case, between you and
me there's nothing left unsaid getting in the way of I Love You.
I'm not bothered or saddened simply because you've
gone, simply because the mortal coil ran out of gas as it
does. That dishonors and disrespects the way it is with us human
beings. It dishonors you. It disrespects you. It imposes my arrogance
and my attachment on your freedom to go.
The punch line of the joke about life on
says "Nobody gets out of here alive!". While laced with a
certain sardonic, noir humor, it's as close to a"the truth" for everyone as it's possible for all of us to
agree that indeed there's is a"the truth" common
to all of us at all. But if you look a little closer, if you get below
the surface of it, it's not sardonic at all. It's not noir
at all. In actuality, it's outright inspiring. It's enough to
drive you out of bed early in the morning. It's enough to keep you up
late at night.
It's inspiring at least twofold. One, it's inspiring because it's
sobering. There's only so much time to get the job of living
done. Time alive is precious. It's not to be squandered. It calls for
the distinction of what's important, of what
of what makes a difference ... as opposed to what's
unimportant, as opposed to what's ineffective, as opposed to
what doesn't make a difference. Two, it's inspiring because once you
get it's not if it will end but rather when
it will end, there's a clear cut opportunity to choose
what your time on
will be about, a pivotal moment to commit to what your
life is going to be given by.
Your life was given by a future of
and possibility for everyone and everything with no one and nothing
left out. There's no greater calling than that. You
countries. And you never once made it significant, serious, or
heavy. Every day under all circumstances, you had a full
on rocked out kick ass great time doing it. You
skipped when even the nimblest trudged.
I thank you for being one of the first people I ever met who
exemplified that one individual can make a difference. I really get
that from you. I thank you for being one of the first people I ever met
who showed me its possible to not simply have work to do, to not simply
have a job to do. It was you who showed me I can work for the company
(so to speak) in a
of owning the entire company!
I thank you for being one of the first people I ever met who taught me
the satisfaction of my life doesn't come from what I do in
my life. You taught me it's what I put into whatever I do
in my life which has the possibility of making anything I
do in my life satisfying. You taught me the
of playing the games in which the good looking boys get the pretty
girls just because of their features, with no regard to
who they really are.
You broke down the barriers between men expressing love for other men
within a completely heterosexual
an area of my life which was either taboo before I met
you, or confused, or both.
It was in this
you freely and generously shared with me the opportunity to have a
personal relationship with your
For me you are and always will be the cleansed Doors of
Perception to Werner (as Aldous Huxley may have said), and if
there's one thing I'll never be able to thank you enough for, this is