Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A bittersweet few days

On Friday, I got the bad news that a dear friend I had not seen for a while had died in his sleep. He was too young to go. He was a smart, witty, serene, buoyant soul and I cannot imagine a world without him: he shone wherever he was.

Head over to Trapdoor Zombie to see Sam's very sweet online eulogy for him. She made me laugh and made me feel that he was near with her gifted tribute.

On Monday, I found out that a film was playing for the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival that commemorated one of my favorite teachers. I knew he had passed away from a rare appendix cancer in 2004, and remember him with great love. His was the one community college class we never ditched: he was passionate, luminous, inspiring, and patient. He loved to tell stories, and his yarns were marvelous. He has shaped the study habits, personality, and aesthetics that have given my life so much of its structure.

The film was amazing: the rare and gifted retrospective that focuses on the life, art, and humor of a person in all their rare and marvelous beauty while never flinching from the meaning, effect, and details of his devastating illness. The film is called "A Creative Life: Who Was Ed Harvey?" and Casey Case, another of my much-loved community college teachers, was its director. I normally hate "who was..." movies, particularly when it treats upon a person I know; that said, this one really did show the viewer who Ed was. It was marvelous, and I was so glad to see it -- to see that Ed embraced the present, however painful, without fear, and surrounded by and creating beauty and energy up until his last few hours.

There is a kind of shameless and unconditional love that we can offer the departed, for which we are sometimes too self-conscious (or, as in my case in community college, for which we sometimes think we are "too cool") while they are at our elbow.

I love so many of you, and you make me who I become, day by day. I know I am a terrible correspondent, but that doesn't mean I am not thinking about you often and with tenderness. Maintaining this blog is probably my best form of writing letters: I am picturing your dear faces while I write. Until next time, my friends.

1 comment:

Sam said...

So true, Ducks. I've also been trying to email long-dear friends I haven't communicated with in a while. I never thought -- we never think -- that a conversation might be the last. I'm not a great letter writer either, but -- I think of you both often!! Love from "Sam" and "Don Gusano" both!