Friday, July 28, 2006

Thoughts on People who are no longer with us

Where Are They

Someone else woke up dead. His name was Ed. He was a neighbor of my wife, we haven’t been married very long so she has friends and neighbors I do not know. I guess that ‘woke up dead’ is inaccurate since he did not, in fact, wake up. He died in his sleep. His wife found him dead in the morning. I would have met him for the first time Saturday but that is not likely to happen. People die, I know that, it is just that when vital lively people, people who were depended on by others, genuinely nice people die unexpectedly it seems to leave a hollow spot behind. It makes me wonder where they went.

It started with Tom Bostian, he was a law school classmate, he had a heart rhythm problem called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Tom got married right out of law school. He had a wife and a little boy. He was a nice person. He was a good tennis player, I never could return his serve, and he rode a motorcycle. He drove me home once when I needed it. He had a quick wit and, for no reason I could discern, a certain lack of confidence. Somehow he got himself on the TV show jeopardy. He did not win, but it was fun for us to see our friend on TV. Every once in a while his WPW would cause his heart to beat very rapidly. It always calmed down again, except that once it did not and he died. He was not 30 years old. He was Bostian, he was my friend, and then he was dead. Where did he go.

The order may be wrong but my next memory here is Pam Hall Rabil. She married my friend Mark Rabil just after law school. They had 2 girls. She was cute as a law student. She was beautiful as a wife and mother. I stayed in their house once the night before a biathlon. I brought her roses as a thank you. Then she got breast cancer and died. I got a phone call. I do not know where she went.

There are too many other people in this list to mention them all. Cancer got John Hunter. David Underwood, many years ago, and Gil Murdock, just recently, got taken by heart attacks at the gym. Lively, vital personalities depended on by their friends and families. They all seemed too powerful to be just gone. Where did they go?

While Tom Bostian was the first person I knew whose death seemed very out of place, or time, it was Tom Fowler that really got me thinking, where is he. His parents owned a house on Lake Shore Drive in Chapel Hill. Mike Williams, Mark Rabil, Reid Russell and I shared the house with him. Fowler, as we all called him, was so alive. We ran together a lot in school. Reid organized a fall hike that Fowler would attend until a botched knee surgery limited his range. Fowler wrote a lot, his family got his book, Carolina Journeys, published. At his peak he seemed to carry the North Carolina Bar Journal. One day he did not wake up. They said he was in his usual sleeping position, just not breathing. We do not know what killed him. Where did a mind like that go.

I think about this a lot at night. For a while after Fowler died it was hard to go to sleep. Sometimes I think if I can just get my mind open enough I will hear him. I won’t though. He is gone just like my first dog and all the other people who have died. It is nice to remember them. I guess that is one way I can keep them alive. So don’t worry Bostian, don’t worry Fowler, I won’t forget any of you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

An amazing recall of friends who have died. My initial reaction is that you have had a remarkable number and your recall of each about some detail reflects your literary talent. Having lived half again as long, I am sure I know many more who have died. But time dims their memory and age makes death of friends and acquaintainces a now routine event. Sorry today but the event will be replaced by a another tomorrow. Callous or old age, who knows. Pop

10:18 AM  

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