I’m drawn to obituaries, not to death. Like a bunch of us, I have lived through so damned much death that I can’t bear to live with it anymore. But I do enjoy reading of one’s life once they are gone. The other day there was an obit in the LA Times about a dame who croaked while riding her bike. She ran into another bike. Presumably the loved ones who wrote the capsulization of her frigging entire time here thought it significant to mention she was wearing her helmet. I mean, that’s funny, right?
So I’m altered by people who lay down warm and semi-moving stuff like, “I will remember you every minute” and “I will think of you every day,” ‘cause I don’t do that. My dad, my grandma, my brother Scott who passed just a year ago. My friends will attest I have given a shit load of eulogies—174 of them. Witty crap, mostly, of every single person who left us. I just don’t think of any of them every day. Arguably the most important soul in my life, Matthew Murray, hits my head maybe once a week. I guess that is all the reverence I can muster, but I do remember the folks I loved in my own timely fashion. Those who made me laugh and cry. It’s not every minute. Not every day. But it is strongly significant to me.
I have been rattled in writing this column because I have been trying to deal with my feelings about a great and wonderful gent who passed six years ago this month. Ron Wanless was perhaps the funniest lad I ever met. We had amazing times together, and those who loved him did as well. He lived through a double lung transplant and was felled by cancer after that crap. He had a lifetime love affair with vodka and cigarettes and honored them both.
I reached out to a ton of pals who loved him like I did to help this effort, and they assembled great stuff to write of his life on earth.
Ron never wore a helmet. He was one of a kind.
But my rattling about was all about me. I think about how much I miss him and start to feel sorry for myself, but then I think about all the people who never got the chance to meet him and I start to feel sorry for them.
The truth is I never told any of those folks how much they meant to me. My pop died at 48. There was supposed to be time to thank him. My grandma was old, and I thought she would be there always. My brother Scott was perhaps the biggest regret of my life. He screwed up and so did I. And Matthew, my sweet Matt. He yelled at me almost daily because of a walker no kid in his 20s should have ever had to use. Matt saw death, and I rationalized his condition into life. He would always be there. I just knew he would. We would make it. We didn’t.
Ron is gone six years now. Matthew will be gone 25 years this summer. Scott is a year gone, and my pop almost a lifetime.
None of this can really reconcile anything, yet please give me this moment. This is a chance to say I love, honor and so respect you all. I need to say it more often than I do. That’s pretty clear. Likely, so should you.
This is it. It’s all we got. I guess it doesn’t matter if we wear our helmet or not.