Friday, June 12, 2009

In The Middle Of The Night I Go Walking In My Sleep

I don't know why I go walking at night
But now I'm tired and I don't want to walk anymore
I hope it doesn't take the rest of my life
Until I find what it is I've been looking for
- Billy Joel
The River of Dreams

You may have noticed that I've been in a bad humor of late.

I'd been looking forward to taking a road trip this week with my buddy Al. It wasn't going somewhere that interested me, but our time together that I was looking forward to.

A few years ago he'd gone through cancer treatment and was doing well.

While big companies who are experiencing financial difficulty have received a lot of publicity, a lot of small businesses, and their employees, have suffered through the economic downturn we've experienced over the past year.

Given that I typically work with small to medium-sized companies in my consulting practice I've faced a number of challenges helping my clients stem the tide.

When Al phoned to say he wanted to see if I could take some time to get away from work it was a great surprise and I said yes straight away.

What I didn't know at the time, what not even his wife knew, was that his cancer had returned and the prognosis was not good. It was, in fact, a terminal diagnosis.

A few days before we were due to get together Al put a .357 magnum in his mouth. I was, needless to say, shocked. I was also, of course, both sad and angry. I've question myself, whether there was something I could have done, something I should have done differently....

Something that Al and I agreed on was that instead of a funeral we both wanted cremation and a memorial service. Beyond that I don't ever recall any discussion.

What I didn't know until yesterday was that he told his wife when the time came I'd know where to spread his ashes.

I'm hoping that tonight we're going to be able to come up with a resolution regarding what to do. His wife tells me that he trusted me to make the decision and she feel's the same, that as his best friend, long before he ever met her, I'd know better than anyone what he'd want.

I went shopping for music to take on the road, wherever that turns out to be, and picked up Billy Joel's River of Dreams. That was another album we both enjoyed and listened to frequently when we were together.

A special note to my friends on StumbleUpon, both yesterday and today some of you clearly did not appreciate my approach or my comments regarding the handling of shared content.

First, let me say, I have no apology to offer.

Not everyone on StumbleUpon generates or shares their own content. I regret those people in my circle of friends received messages intended for people who do share content, but don't visit The Gonzo Papers unless I send posts to them through SU.

My use of StumbleUpon's share feature has never been in line with how most people us it. I like to keep in touch with my friends, because I feel that being friends means more than clicking a button, and I think that as a friend people should be interested in what I'm posting online.

There's one thing I'd like to emphasize about stumbling.

If you think I'm going to be stumbling your content when you don't visit The Gonzo Papers on your own, without me sending you a share, you're likely to be disappointed.

As for me visiting your blog, without you sending me something, I'm open to exchanging links. I'm much more likely to visit other blogs with whom I've exchange links than those I have not. If that's something you want to do, let me know.


Peila Kolassa said...

Music has and always will be a connection to time, place, and people. It produces its own magic and memories.

Nora said... is huge in my life....I believe it is as powerful as any other of our senses...a blend of physical, mental and spiritual....pure magic.

Global Patriot said...

Many years ago my closest friend from highschool went through a similar experience, and the outcome with a gun was the same.

To this day I understand his decision, yet I'm still haunted by what could have been done (by myself and others) to alter that tragic outcome.

I can only share in your sorrow and also feel that we're here on our own path - a path that can end in many ways.

crys said...

I agree with the first comments about music having a powerful effect on our lives, in our souls. You are a friend indeed to follow through on your friends wishes. And it is a testament to that friendship for his wife to understand and support the trust your friend had in you.

Michele said...

I'm so very sorry about your loss. I recently lost 3 precious family members. None of their deaths was due to suicide, but they were so young: 32, 36, and 28. They all passed away within a matter of weeks of each other. I grew up with two of them; one was like my little sister; another like my little brother. It is very painful to lose someone we care about--especially when it's tragic.

My heart and prayers go out to you and Al's family....


keithbraycoach said...

Sorry to read this story. Suicide tough on those who love!