Saturday, April 26, 2014

Last Days

     I received word of two deaths just a few days ago. Both passings were on Easter Day.

     I only met Bill Brown once. He was my very first visitor to Cloud, stopping by because our mutual friend Shadow, from whom we bought Cloud, had thought to connect us. He was pleasant and welcoming. He was a musician, and we'd hoped to play together sometime. For various reasons, Bill and I never managed to actually meet again. Shadow says that he went in peace.

     My friend Jacquie died on Sunday as well. I've used a superlative with Jacquie that I've never used for anyone else, often calling her my all-time favorite co-worker. She was that for at least three reasons. She was passionate about her work with our homeless and mentally ill clients when we worked together at Dixon Hall. But it was a very natural passion, not rooted in philosophy or professional posture, but in her simple, human appreciation and connection with people.

     The second reason she was my favorite is that she extended the same caring to me and to our other colleagues as she did to our clients. She mothered us. When I wore sandals to work, she used to declare her partnership with my wife in declaring war on my dry and rusty feet. And she egged me on about my writing, saying she wanted to see me on Oprah when my as yet unwritten novel was chosen for her bookclub.

     The third reason Jacquie was such a favorite is that she was completely irrepressible. If something was on her mind, if she felt something about a situation, it was going to get said, no matter the consequences. This didn't always lead to "polite" interactions, but it was powerful and effective. I admit that she won me over with this trait at our very first meeting, which was at my interview for a position at Dixon Hall. Jacquie would/could not repress her positive reaction to some of my responses, practically cheering me on, depite the efforts of the department manager to enforce an objective and impartial formality for the occassion. And Jacquie was equally ready to argue a point when she felt I'd made a wrong call.

     My heart and my condolesces go out to the families and friends of Bill and Jacquie. They will be missed.

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