Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Death dealt a royal flush today

On this first day of fall Death took three people that I personally knew. When I say it like that it really seems like it must have been a terrible, horrific accident. In reality it was cancer. Why they all happened to die today I'm not sure but it has dealt me a giant emotional packed wallop to my heart.
Death and I have a funny relationship, as I know I have written about in the past. I don't take it lightly but I am pretty sure it come across like I do. After having to decide the fate of many small animal, I needed to develop a sense a humor about the damn thing. It is a great coping mechanism, really. Laughing can release so much, more people should try it.
I accept death for what it is and actually am not afraid of it. What frightens me, is leaving before I'm ready. Not that I get to choose when I go but leaving before my kids are grown. And so I will try my best to stick around for a least the next 40 yrs or so.

Out of the three lives that ended today, the one that hits me so hard is that of my friend Daniel. We're the same age, we shared some awesome times in high school. And had some crazy adventures while in college.
When I first met Daniel in 9th grade, he was very quiet. I am pretty quiet, but Daniel didn't say much, I think he was observing us. For the longest time we had a game, I would try and get him to say Hi instead of Hello every time I saw him. The biggest smile would cross his face every time he'd refuse to just say Hi.

Everyone who is writing about what they remember about him on Face Book are reminiscing about his amazing violin skills. And while I would never argue about how good he was, but that is not all he could do. Thanks to playing the violin ever since he was a tiny boy, he could bend his fingers so far back without any pain. I know his brother and him would sometimes play on a random street corner just to see how much money they could make.

Daniel and I ate an entire box of ice cream once on our way back from a canoe trip up on Ross Lake. And for all you, Northwest School alumni, Daniel orchestrated the taking of the school sign way back in June of 1993. I know my class knows this, but I doubt others do. Many do not realize just how mischievous he could be. There would be a gleam in his eyes and you knew something good was being concocted.

When I went off to school in Montana, many friends wrote me letters. (oh, yes! letter writing was still happening!) I complained once that I didn't hear much from Daniel and so he started to send me letters. He sent me the whole damn ALPHABET!!! I put them up in my dorm room and people thought I was becoming a grade school teacher.

Every time I came back to town from college, Daniel was there whisking me away to plays, nice restaurants and the Cloud Room. He didn't want me to forget culture while I was out in Montana. We had a blast watching "Harvey" at the Seattle Rep.

As memory serves I didn't make it home a couple of time. Now before you go thinking something naughty. One of the times we had parked in a garage up on Broadway and when we came back the doors to the garage were locked! I had to crash on his couch that night, and the gentleman that he was, he walked back up to the garage with me the next day and paid for the over night parking.

I bet our high school friends didn't know that for a time Daniel was actually a river guide for a rafting company up in Leavenworth.

Just typing all this up makes me smile.

A few years ago, I learned Daniel had a brain tumor. He fought a valiant battle too from what I gather. I kept hoping that this time the news would be good, and we'd have him for a few more years. His body was just to tired though. Even though those of us who knew him will miss him something terrible, at least he won't have to deal with the pain and exhaustion anymore.

Be at peace Daniel. Thank you for all the awesome memories and I'll always think of you on April 2nd, your birthday.

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