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Loss

January 22, 2008

Another friend in the wind; another death, they are coming too soon, too close together. An iconic, legendary, grumpy old man who helped countless people put their shattered lives and their shattered selves back together. He lost his wife, also a legendary soul, and despite the attempts of many to care for him, to inspire him to care for himself, he died on Sunday. He left behind a huge group of men, dependent on his guidance, his pithy truth, now leaderless. But they have each other and they will find their way. I have memories of him, many of them verbal; advice given and repeated by many, passed from friend to friend. This man was loved by so very many, but I wonder if the weight of that love, the weight of being iconic, grew to be an awful lot. The burden of being the “helper”, the sage, is a great one. I always thought he loved it, but he shared it with his wife of so many years. He never would care for himself, and his wife understood that only he could decide to do that. Since her death, he let himself be cared for more and more by those around him. As his health deteriorated, he ended up in the hospital and after heart surgery, just wouldn’t eat; as if without his wife he just had no reason to. Finally, in the end, he told the men he was “just tired”; I understand. In a way that I never thought I would, I understand. He will be missed, but legends are timeless by definition.

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