Monday, September 19, 2005

Death of a Friend

The web posting includes the letters RIP after Michael’s name.

This is how I learned that he has passed away. I have pursued no confirmation, not even sure how to go about it – his parents, his sister maybe.

We were never college roommates. But we were close friends: muse for each other, shared our creative writings, a love of history, international relations, and Yes. We even took the federal Foreign Service test. We were part of a group, as is the wont of college friends that age…Randy, Duffy, Kris, Jill, Sam, Michael, me. The type of friendships that you know could last forever – and still do, in certain shades of gray brought about by distance and time.

He was gay. We did not know that at Lycoming. In fact, he may not have realized it until his senior year. It was harder to share that sort of knowledge then, I suppose. He had had a girlfriend in Rockville, but they had drifted apart. It had seemed more platonic and intellectual than physical anyway.

We stayed connected for some time after college. He was in our wedding. We did Homecoming a couple of times, although he had soured on the College some time before. He moved with his jobs and his relationships: Washington, Norfolk, San Diego, Seattle, San Jose.

And he became sick. The web posting explains his physical ailments and pains. He became part of the lawsuit over California’s medical marijuana policy that finally made it to the Supreme Court. His deposition is here, along with a bio and picture. Again, those initials.

He became a Buddhist and a grief counselor, both of which fit his strong empathetic nature.

We last saw each other on election day about ten years ago, when he visited Boston and I drove out to see him. We hadn’t seen each other in some time, and there had been gaps in our correspondence. It showed. We had each gone through our own transitions, and the silences were long. I left too early that day, but had probably left long before that. My fault.

He left behind a great creative, and caring, spirit.

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