if i were to tell you about him -
give you a blog eulogy -
i would tell you that less than a handful of people knew him.
really knew him.
in fact, i think it's possible only three women ever did.
i was one of them.
that makes me so sad.
he came from harshness.
lived a hard and lonely life.
in fact, before i met him, the description i got of him made me afraid to meet him.
'crusty' was prolly the word i heard most.
and prolly the word that worked best.
thing is, you can only be so crusty when you wear a mickey mouse watch.
it was when i spotted that watch that everything turned for me.
and i went and sat next to him.
i went to find out about him.
over the years i discovered a man who loved shakespeare.
loved him so much he could recite parts of romeo and juliet by heart.
he'd smile and call him 'the bard' and go off into quotes. full long length quotes.
he would quote those lines with such depth of heart, i would melt listening.
i discovered a man who loved world history and could tell you anything you
ever wanted to know. i found a man who carried a picture of a woman in his
wallet for over 50 years. a man who would soften when i talked with him,
and would eventually apologize for thinking that i was a pick pocket when we
his voice would get real gentle sometimes when we'd talk. and when i told him i loved him,
he would tell me so right back. and i wondered how few times he ever said that
in his life. how few times he ever heard it.
cussing and grumbling was much more his style on the outside. but there was a part
of him that drank tea, did tai chi at one point in his life, and loved to learn and read.
there was part of him that fell in love with an asian woman and found himself stuck
in between worlds where he didn't know how to handle the prejudices he faced.
there was a man who never quite got the hang of offering love down, but who had
quite a heart to offer. and yet, that heart wasn't all beautiful. it was twisted in ways,
broken in others, hardened in still others. it was quite a mix!
and yet, i got the softness.
every time i think of him right now, i tear up.
not because i'm sad he's passed.
i know he was ready.
but because he's really a shade of a story we all carry to some degree.
the part of us all where we aren't always seen, we aren't always valued,
where we hide ourselves away, lock things inside, stop sharing, stop offering,
the part where we let the pain win.
obviously there's different degrees to this. and we all have different twists and turns
to our version of doing this.
but here's the thing - it's not just us that gets hurt by our closing down and keeping
our light dim. it's those around us. those around us lose out. when i think of the things
i learned about him that others never knew of, when i think of the softness in his voice
that so many never imagined, i get sad.
i get sad because i don't think he knew he was valuable.
i get sad because he lived such a lonely life.
and i get sad because a beautiful tiny little gem got so trampled on as he went along,
that he just crusted over.
but then - i think about it a little harder and i realize - even all the pain, all the hurt,
all the self doubt - even all that couldn't take away the beauty. it was there. if anyone
ever really looked. it was so there.
so he has me thinking today.
about opening up and offering love.
about light in the darkness.
and about the incredible opportunity we have just by being here.
i'm toasting him today.
and picturing him swimming in an ocean of love.