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July 21, 2003

What?!?! (About Bob)

I found out a few days ago that a good friend of mine from back East, Bob Garceau, passed away on July 4th. He was 30 years old, and he died after having triple bypass surgery on his heart. It's hard to comprehend, really, and from what his wife told me, it doesn't get any clearer with increased detail. A series of events over the course of a few days led to my young and generally strong friend dying in a hospital bed while recovering from surgery. It's that simple and that shocking, and I think that's part of what makes it hard to comprehend.

Adding many layers to the sadness of the situation is the fact that he had a brand new family blooming, with a wife of a few years, a baby boy, and a baby girl on the way. Bob was a great guy -- he was a hard worker, he was friendly, and smart, and aware. Although my actual time spent with Bob was spotty throughout the years, we have gotten along really well for a long time. The last time I talked to him was a couple of years ago, when he and his wife were in Southern California, trying to settle on where to settle down. He was supposed to swing up here and visit me, maybe even stick around here, but it turns out that an illness in his family drew him back to Massachusetts right around then. I didn't know how or where to reach him, and basically just waited to hear from him, assuming that some turn of events had taken him off course. I had been bugging Bob for years to move out of his hometown/homecounty, almost to the point of argument at times, so after a while I laid off completely. I figured he'd call me when he had it worked out, which he did...and I figured he'd call again when he worked out whatever kept him away when he almost made it here. Neither of us worried about it too hard, because, well, we're 30 -- and when you're 30 you don't generally go around thinking you could just up and die sometime soon. You figure you've got plenty of time to get around to whatever it is you haven't gotten around to.

And maybe you do, and maybe you don't.

This has been a week of deep thought and reflection for me -- frustrating, brow-furrowing reflection, and sadness. I wish I could say that I've come away with some profound revelation on the mysteries of life, but I've really just come away bummed about Bob, and his poor wife and kids.

Confounding reflection about life and mortality and the loss of a friend has been the main thing that's kept me from posting something new here. I didn't think I could just keep posting without saying something about losing my friend, and I have been just waiting to see if anything particularly edifying was taking shape.

Nope. Really, the only thing that has come to mind in the form of enlightenment is this bizarre poem I wrote some number of years ago, called "Down Days". It's the heat that brought it to mind at first -- the heat here has been absolutely stifling -- but in some sense, it really fits with my train of thought these past few days since I found out my old friend is gone...which is to say, confused, wandering, and maudlin.

I wrote the poem during some other brutal heat spell years back, and like many of my poems, it basically wrote itself. It stands just as it was originally written -- I'm generally reluctant to edit the poems that write themselves. It's a pretty silly poem -- particularly with the bizarro end part that I can't move myself to remove -- but I've always had some affection for it for some reason. And it floated into my consciousness as I've been plodding around sweating and pondering mortality and loss this week. I won't post it here -- it's not very presidential -- but you can read it here if you want. It's about how wack life can be, I guess. Plus some weird thing about a guy named Murray.

Anyway, here's to Bob Garceau, who was a good guy, and taken way too soon, and too quickly.

Bob's wife, who I had never met, thought to find me and let me know, because she said Bob referred to me a lot when he got ranting about politics, and stuff he saw on the news. He was big into philosophy and politics, which is a big part of why we got along so well. She also said that he had been very excited when he and I briefly connected when he was in California.

While I took a full break from posting here, I have been posting the occasional news story (or 15) over at The Little Brown Reader, and I've been putting a little extra zing in some of my comments there, in honor of Bob. There were a few items there that I considered posting here, but I held off. Here are some links in case you want to explore:

Conflict of Interest, For Sale or Rent
(A concise summary of the American political and governance system.)

Bush Welfare Marriage Plan Sailing Through Congress
(Wherein I rant sarcastically about social engineering.)

Reading While Bearded: Another FBI Visit
(A first person story (not by me) about a visit from the FBI for reading a suspcious newspaper op-ed.)

There are a lot of other good new stories posted there too, but those are the three that I considered almost substantial enough to post here on their own.

Posted by Lance Brown at July 21, 2003 06:13 AM | TrackBack
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