|TOM WITH SON DUFFY, BROTHER TIM AND BUDDY|
|SUNSET IN THE NORTH WOODS|
Friday, 7:45 AM. 68 degrees F, wind W, calm. The sky is partly cloudy with high, thin gray clouds. The humidity is 55%, the and the barometer predicts rain. We had a torrential downpour with thunder and lightning last night between 2:00 and 3:00 AM that left us an inch of rain and a lot of fallen leaves and spruce cones.
Tom, my oldest and closest friend, died yesterday. I guess that is still the proper term to use when they take you off life support. Maybe they should say, “died for good,” or something to indicate that you were already, technically, dead. Tom had a good run at life, but you can’t beat the odds for ever, and he had been doing so for a number of years.
I haven’t begun to grieve as yet, since I had pretty well figured his luck had run out this time. But, Tom was a fighter, and one could never count him out. I prayed that he would beat the odds one more time, but I can’t fault God for claiming one of his own at last.
I figure Tom will visit me in my dreams from time to time just as Larry, a mutual friend of our youth, often does. In my dream I will be on the job (Larry and I worked together for years) and Larry will ask me to climb down into the ditch with him, or go get a beer with him, and I will say, “Larry, I can’t come with you, you’re dead!” and then wake up. Tommy will probably ask me to get in the fishing boat with him, and one day I probably will.
Our culture makes a distinction between life and death, dream time and waking, but, and strange as it seems to us, many other cultures see these different states as a continuum, or as alternative states of existence. Those are probably truer views of time and reality than our own.
As one ages one lives as much in the past as in the present, and that is perhaps why I have not begun yet to grieve for Tommy, since he still lives strongly in my past. I didn't say memory; the past is more than that. The past is tangible, we can grasp it if we wish. And if we wish hard enough we can grasp the future as well. See you then, old friend.