How to summarize the person he was? How to justify his time on earth? He
would think it natural to indulge a final self-deprecation, to wish to exit
with graceful humility, with joyful gratitude. But he would not be being
modest if he were to say that he really didn't accomplish much. He didn't do
anything very important. The truth is there is nothing in what he did with his
life that could have led him to deserve the tremendous pleasure he took in
being alive. HIs life was an unnecessary, gratuitous event. That is, it was a
beautiful, grace-filled gift.
He liked good poems, loved all kinds of music, enjoyed intelligent films. But
what he really liked were more physical pleasures. He wants to say that sex
alone made the whole thing worth living through. The sex and the food. Those
alone would have been enough. To you, the living, he would say, "Please go
have sex. Preferably with a partner. Then have some fresh ravioli. Do this
in memory of me."
He liked everything the body could do and feel. As a child he ran for the
sheer pleasure of how it felt. Most children do this. And as an adult he
spent a lot of years running for exercise. If any of you are runners or have
been runners you'll know what he's talking about when he says there were times
when he could recapture the pleasure of children running - times when it was
just his body.
He also really liked drinking too much. He liked the marijuana too. One of
his regrets is that he was made with the kind of psychological flaw that made
him easily dependent on drugs and alcohol. During the last half (give or
take) he abstained so he could have a healthy and happy life. It worked
pretty well, despite the current evidence of his being dead. Drugs and
alchohol can do a lot of damage and, to you the living he wants to say, "Be
honest with yourself about getting loaded. Get help if you are making
yourself unhappy." He had to quit. Quitting was one of his few heroic acts but
he always missed it. Now that he's dead he would miss it all the more.
There was a day he stood in his yard, watching the light on the leaves of a
tree he had there. He was aware of the breeze on his skin and he watched the
hairs stand up on his arm. It was the day he knew that God was real. He knew
God loved him. There it is. Tough shit. Deal with it.
Yes, he believed in God. He would have preferred not. Belief in God is
thoroughly indefensible. Theistic faith is so often the refuge of cowards. It
is so often the basis for the most vile and violent human behavior. But he
couldn't deny his own experience that told him God was there. He believed in
God through his body, though, and now that he's dead he can't believe in God
anymore. He didn't go to heaven. He didn't go anywhere. He just died. To
you the living he wants to say, "There's nothing over here. Believe in God
while you are alive. Have sex. Eat ravioli."
He knew hundreds of kind people. If he doubted that people were kind he would
only need to watch himself on videotape. He didn't sound so smart. He wasn't
that good looking. Yet people were interested in talking with him and often
gave him invitations and compliments. He felt you should try not to take
people for granted. They probably had better things to do than hang around
with him. They were just kind people that way.
He would miss his wife and children if he were not dead and able to do so.
They were without comparison the best part of his life.
He wishes he wasn't dead.