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Friends in the Wind

January 5, 2008

During this past season of Hannukah (only one of seventeen spellings), a friend of ours suffered a massive coronary during the night. Come morning he was alive but significantly oxygen deprived. He and his family lived out west, as we had for years but no longer do. As in every situation of this sort we felt terribly powerless, but more so for the distance. When tragedy strikes I tend to task my way through, make food, help my elders, dress the youngsters and all such things that need to be done. As we received e-mail updates on his condition and it became clear that the family was gathering, that he would never awaken from his coma, there was nothing we could do but feel sad, and a little scared. We aren’t old, but he was younger, one child in college and one in high school (as is ours, but we started late!). The suddenness of it, the finality of the attack was frightening; the thought that there would never be a final word, a goodby, a hug, a soft kiss. And on night six of Hannukah as we gathered with our family and friends to light the sixth candle, I asked a moment of silence for this dear soul in his fight for life and we lit a special candle for him. I later learned that, as a result of the time difference, he died at just about the time we held him in our hearts for that brief silence. It is hard to describe his family; his parents, his wife, his children. All are extraordinary and special people, talented, bright, loving. They all had an extraordinary relationship with one another. I know they still suffer. We are powerless to help in any way. And so today I listened to the Grateful Dead by way of tribute, he would understand; but he’s gone.

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