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There are some things going on in this world that bother me ... that offend me ... that don't make sense, and never will. I dedicate this site to those who seek truth even where it is difficult to find, and who are willing to agree and disagree in principle, while steadfastly refusing to let irrelevant detail overshadow core truth.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Farewell, My Friend

Recently, we lost a dear friend. Norm Farquhar lost a battle to brain cancer at an age when most begin to think of retirement and enjoying the last third of their lives. Norm was a wonderful friend principally because he was honest and caring and was gifted with an incredible dry wit. I was blessed to have the opportunity to spend some quality time with Norm near the end and was honored to be at his deathbed with his beloved wife, Debi on the night of his passing. I will miss him every day of the rest of my life. Good night dear friend.

In life, we enjoyed the banter between close friends, some at times very close and personal. At various times when occasion led either of us to reference the other, it often was accompanied with the descriptive phrase, "one of my very best friends." Occasionally, we addressed our friendship one-on-one, but always with a limit to that expression. It is interesting that women who are very close are able and willing to say, "I love you, friend," without anyone conjuring up the wrong picture. Men almost never do, and so it was between Norm and me. Near the end, I spent hours with him and his wife. His barrier was down. I suppose it was something for which he had no strength to maintain. Enumerable times he would look at me or reach out to touch me as if to assure himself that I was really there, and he would say, straight up, without condition or qualification, "Dave, I love you." And I found it easy to say so as well. I will forever wish that, in health, we had been able to share the truth and depth of our friendship with one another without fear of misunderstanding. Funny, the fences we build around ourselves.

Observation: No matter how close we hold our friends or how "open" we think we are, we still tend to automatically put up barriers, perhaps out of concern that someone will see some aspect of who we are that we don't want them to see. As we face our moment of departure from this life, it seems, that we tend not to put to much energy into maintaining this barrier - exposing ourselves in raw form to all in our presence - our fears, our joys and most of all our love and lovliness. It's too bad that we don't let more people see the part of ourselves that makes us most real, most alive, until we face our death. I must learn from this, try to be more open to all and especially to those that I love the most. It takes a lot of work; more than one might imagine. But it's worth it.

Upon being asked to say a few words of farewell the day we gathered to spread his ashes in the ocean, this is all I could muster:

Norm,

You’re probably watching what we’re doing with a gleam in your eye. I can almost hear your voice saying, “What are you numb nuts doing out here on a day like this?”

Well, old friend, we’ve gathered here to say farewell … and to symbolically spread the remains of your body upon the sea you loved so much. Strange, that some of us may have already begun to speak of you in the past, for that is not the truth. The truth is that your spirit lives among us, supporting us and messing with us in equal measure. And even though we don’t recognize you now, we will always remember your voice, your honesty and candor, and your incredible sense of humor. I don’t think you ever met anyone who wasn’t an immediate friend, and we are but a few of the many lives you have touched. Our only opportunity to see you now is in our memories, and so we gather together to remember and share … and to celebrate our great fortune for you having been a part of our lives. And as we do, we trust that you will forgive us brief moments when our grief can no longer be contained.

I know the irony has not escaped you, for you have accomplished one thing in death that you were never able to do in life. Your beloved Debi is with us here … on this boat … part of her probably saying, “I can’t believe I’m out here doing this,” and another part possibly thinking she could slip overboard with your ashes right now if it would only take her to where you are.

Rest in peace, my brother. We love you.