02 Mar 2023

The Departed — One Year Later


Nearly one year has passed since my friend John departed this life. Today I walked by what used to be his Arizona condominium — our dog Missy looked up the staircase she used to charge up to greet her pals Bailey, John and Pearl. Today she glanced up there and kept on walking, no doubt the scent of strangers has replaced her friends. The immediate pain of the loss on that day was piercing, searing. Over time, that pain recedes, but it never disappears.

Reading two posts here from that experience brought the anguish and loss back in full force. Some wish to wallow in misery and woulda/shoulda/coulda. This scribbler is never up for that. Maudlin is not us — deal with it and move on. Somehow, though, this experience lingers — the absence of the camaraderie, the threes of us together at lunch, at golf, at cocktails and in Door County has its grip..

Were he here, John would say, “Come on! There’s too much to do, have some fun, don’t dwell on me!” John, YOU were the fun. That hole inside me will never be filled, as it won’t for your family and friends in your hometown and elsewhere. Life-changing connections are a gift for eternity, a treasure. They don’t just happen. And they don’t just vanish.

We are back to our little executive golf course where we enjoyed so many rounds. Diane and I look at each other and nothing is said but everything is communicated. We’re okay, but that foursome can never be duplicated. I cleaned out the storage room in our condominium this morning and there on the top shelf is the storage box with 500+ golf balls he had his son-in-law give to me. I think of him at daybreak when he dug them out of the desert scrub…and how happy he’d be later in the day when he’d chirp, “Got 32 today! Want Pro Vs or the Callaways?”

I’ve kept his texts, especially the one with the awful news. And I have a voicemail saved on my phone so that I can hear his voice when I need to. We’ll probably call Pearl any day now to check in on her and Bailey. Epistles like this one at PolicySmith are singular — unlike the screeds about governments, tyrants, public policy and the like. These are emotional expressions of loss and pain…and most especially love. There will not be another on this subject.

I love this guy as much as I ever did. I really miss you, John!

9 Responses to The Departed — One Year Later
  1. Comment *A very moving and fitting tribute to a wonderful person in your life, Jack. He was blessed to have you and Diane as friends.

  2. Comment *what a moving and wonderful tribute to your friend, Eks. He must have been a beautiful soul. Sorry for yours and Diane’s loss.

    • He was truly”one of us” and all that goes with it…you know what that means! Thanks for weighing in…

  3. Comment *I hear and feel your pain and grief, Jack.
    That kind of friendship is a treasure ….. a gift.
    Sending a gentle air hug.

  4. Comment * Great tribute to a man I likely didn’t know. I feel like mourning is love or friendship suspended, not ended. I don’t know that we are supposed to “get over it.” Thanks for sharing.


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