Eulogy for my friend that passed away.

Doctorx33

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I posted this on Facebook but I’d like to share it here, you guys have always been an empathetic group.

Recently I found out an old friend of mine has passed away. His name was Tom.

I moved to Georgia in the fall of 1983. I came here on an invite from another friend, who eventually betrayed me. No need to go into details about that other than I found myself needing a job and a place to live. I found a cheap apartment and a job at a Bonanza steak house as a grill cook.

A few weeks later Tom was hired, he worked on the line with me. I was 28, he was 17. We hit it off right away because, like me, he also played guitar and had other interests that were similar to mine. Tom became the first friend I made in Georgia, and at the time I sure needed one. We had a lot of fun working together, he had a great sense of humor and considering the circumstances it was a good period in my life. Neither of us worked weekends or had a car, so on Friday night when we got off his mother would pick us up, take us to the supermarket to get a 12 pack, and take us to my apartment. We drank beer, played guitars, and laughed all night.

As with all things circumstances changed, we both moved on but kept in touch and every now and then we would get together. Due to the path our lives took some years went by and we eventually lost touch. About six weeks ago he messaged me and wanted to reconnect. Of course I did too, and we talked about guitars and other things like we used to. I agreed to build him a couple of guitar gadgets and went about preparing for it. I didn't hear from him for a while when one day his sister made contact with me and told me that he had passed.

I am quite grief stricken about it. All those years we could have been talking but weren't, plus the fact that we had communicated briefly only for him to pass on has affected me deeply.

A lesson learned is that don't take things for granted. Call that friend or family member that you hadn't talked to for some time, because you don't know what tomorrow will bring.

Strangely, the night after I found out about Tom’s passing I had a dream where I sat in with the band at my church, and played a blues song. I like to think that it was Tom saying goodbye.
 

Toto'sDad

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I'm sorry for your loss. It's especially disconcerting when a friend passes, and you learn of it too late to see them before they go. I know, I've been down that road. Words don't mean a lot at a time like this, but it's better to have had a good friend and lose them, than not to have had the time together you did.
 

brookdalebill

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Thanks for sharing your story.
Good, true friends are rare and precious.
It sounds like you and Tom were just that.
You and I are of a similar vintage, and I often feel just like you about not taking good people, or the good things in our lives for granted.
I’m sorry for your loss.
 
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Bob Womack

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I'm sorry for your loss. I had a similar friend and wrote a similar eulogy for him in 2012:
I got a call last night and found that my best friend from high school had passed away. Alan’s family emigrated from Scotland to my hometown, Knoxville, Tennessee, when we were both thirteen years old. We met in the machine room of the church I attended and his father pastored. We were both cutting church service and looking for somewhere quiet to hang out. Over the years our friendship developed into a classic odd couple: He was a liberal’s liberal, a joyful bohemian who was continually driven to try new things, push boundaries, and never look beyond his nose. He asked little more of life than a good joke and a book to read. I was a conservative who loved to push boundaries but in a more thought-out way. It was a case of iron sharpening iron: despite being polar opposites we found that we shared many, many interests. We became inseparable, meeting up at coffee shops to discuss philosophy, literature, history, and current events into the wee hours, always marveling at our ability to carry out genteel discussion. Being a bit clumsy, Alan would in invariably leave behind on the table a thick paste of cigarette ashes, spilt coffee, creamer, sugar, sugar packets, and napkins from these sessions.

Alan had an encyclopedic knowledge of English and Scottish popular music so we listened to and critiqued each other’s newest albums. We were both acutely attuned to the sound of recordings, their engineering and mastering. Through him I fell in love with music from the U.K.. He introduced me to Monty Python and we set a local record for the number of times we watched “The Holy Grail” at Friday midnight showings. We prowled the regional “B-band” venues to see those bands that had been sent on the chitterling circuit in the South by Capricorn and Songs of the South Records. Wherever we were, there was music.

Meanwhile, Alan was growing into one of those people who was willing to try, and fail, at anything, and did both often and with gusto. But as the years rolled by, my friend’s shenanigans and the resultant consequences became more and more outrageous. Let’s just say my friend’s charm with the ladies was legendary and he found himself on the wrong end of a gun more than once. Meanwhile, his love for adventure and fear of responsibility grew. Nevertheless, we were still best discussion buddies. He’d float his latest wild romance or scheme by me and I’d try to dissuade him from the predictable disastrous outcome. He’d show up for our next meeting, regale me with the results, then look at me with a sly grin and a twinkle in his eye and say, “You were right but I learned my lesson.” He never did. We shared a house during the summer between high school and college while working at a summer camp. We caught up with each other’s progress at our separate colleges at each break. We hiked and traveled together in the summers. Then in our senior year at college, Alan decided he wanted to move back to the U.K. I fell in love. He prepared for his trip and I prepared for marriage. Two years later I accepted a job out of state and he left for Scotland.

In the intervening thirty years I tried repeatedly to contact him but my attempts apparently always arrived at his last address after he moved on. His mother relayed news to me: He’d met a beautiful German girl while touring hostels in Europe and gotten married. They had three daughters. He’d become an alcohol counselor in Scotland. Then I suppose his fear of responsibility may have gotten the best of him because he left his family and moved back to the States. He and his wife never divorced. Last I heard he was delivering pizzas in South Carolina. Then the word came last night. Alan’s mom asked my mom to let me know that he had died of pancreatic cancer.

I’ve missed the cordial discussions with a thinker with whom I disagreed on many, many points. I wonder if I’ll ever find so cordial an intellectual sparring partner again. I’d always dreamed I’d track him down and we would compare notes. We’d go out to another coffee shop and he’d create his customary paste on the table and blow smoke past my face. He’d poke me for being so stodgy. I'd try to talk him out of another suicidal adventure. We’d sit with the paper and chew on current affairs. He’d look at me with that twinkle in his eye and chide me for being so yesterday in my musical tastes then play me something new and exciting from Europe.

I suppose I shall miss him even more dreadfully now.

RIP Alan, 1957-2012

Sorry about the loss of your friend.

Bob
 

Greggorios

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Thanks for sharing your story and the sentiment. I'd like to think that reconnecting shortly before his passing, along with the plans to work on the guitar gadgets, was a real comfort for him. Your OP is a wonderful testament to both your friendship and your friend. I envy that reconnection. I've lost more than 1 close friend without the reconnection. The memory of them can be haunting at times. Peace.
 

Toto'sDad

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I went back and reread these posts and looked back over the years at friends who were once sort of my "best" friends. Time, and obligations sometimes beyond our control can cause you, them, or maybe both of you to just drift away out of your and their lives like an untethered boat.

We as humans want to experience close friendship, we need it at some stages of our lives. There really is nothing quite like a friend who you can count on in a tight spot and are committed to returning that trust yourself. There have been several "best" friends in my life, now I have golfing buddies and the like but there's no one left that I can really count on beyond family. Fortunately for me, my sons have turned out to be my "besties." One is gone now, but my younger one is truly a great pal.

I watched an old movie "The Outsiders" the other night about teens and their relationships. One of them kills another teen, his old pal sticks with him and they hide out. I am reminded that our teenaged years are possibly the best years we will ever know. We form alliances, both with friends, and our young loves that are doomed to fail in time. We don't know that and believing they will last forever make them perhaps the sweetest times we will ever know. No matter how hard we try later in life, the winds of time often blow us off course, and we end up sailing alone, our relationships dashed on the rocks of the shore of life.
 




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