Monday, April 19, 2010

Summer ends for everyone

A friend of mine passed away, and I'll be going to the visitation and funeral this week. He was an extremely interesting man - the kind of person who was either loved or despised. And he deserved both. To some of us, he could be wonderfully fun, generous, self-deprecating, very smart, and caring. To others he was mean, petty, insensitive and vindictive. He and I got along and worked well for many years together. Somehow I figured out how to deal with him so that by and large he let me do my job and didn't interfere too much except to request some small change just to make his mark. (I won't use the common slang for that type of behavior!)  And when I thought I could get away with it, I privately chided him on his bad behavior toward some people.

He was a force to be reckoned with, one way or another. And he was never boring, that's for sure. With all the bombast and fury he possessed, he fought two different cancers for many years, the second cancer the result of chemotherapy from the first one.  A while back, knowing that he had been given only a few more months, we brought his friends together to have a cocktail or two or three with him, just to say goodbye without really having to say it. What could have been a morbid evening was enjoyable and nostalgic, mostly because he was very open and matter of fact about his limited time, could still tell great stories, and could still laugh heartily with his friends. 

The following words are from a column that appeared in our local newspaper many years ago. I repeat it here in honor of my friend.  Godspeed, JB.
Summer ends for everyone.
So do all of life's troubles and promises.
What matters isn't the length of someone's season.
What's important is how often they laughed and wept,
danced and prayed,
fulfilling their purpose on the planet.
So, now it is time to sit on park benches
in the slowly fading light
and remember green years and good lives gone.
A time to live. And, for some, a time to die.
- Betty DeRamus

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