Wednesday, January 23, 2008

One of the greats...

This past weekend, our neighbor passed away. He'd been sick for a while now, and he was ready to go, however it is hard for all of us to let go. See, he was one of the great ones. He was the type of person who was always there if you needed something and always ready, willing, and able to help, even if only to make you smile. He made you realize when you were making a big deal over a little issue, and was always willing to help you realize that sometimes you just need to relax and go with the flow.

So, whether I was giving him a hard time over being lazy (since he was retired), or he was giving me a hard time over being too strict with my kids, it never really mattered, because, we both always knew where things stood - whether everything was truly said or not. This pattern became even clearer today, while friends and family were sharing memories of Don.

For mine, I pointed out something everyone knew: Don had a way with the economy of words. He might not say something outright, but he'd always give you a look and you knew what he was saying. Sometimes, those looks were more powerful than words. Other times, when he chose to speak, it was usually with an extremely dry wit, also intended to carry volumes. So often, the things not said were as important as the words, but when he did speak, it usually made sense to listen.

So, while some stories surprised, others enlightened. Some were humorous, and some were thoughtful. Throughout it all, they were, purely Don. They showed how much he cared for each one of us and how much each of us cared for him.

There are few things I am certain of in this life. One is, I will always carry a piece of Don with me and another is that there are always things I will not be able to do without thinking of Don. The same is true with most people we lose I guess, but the thing I am most certain of is that when I encounter these things which remind me of Don, they will always, and without fail, bring a smile to my lips and joy to my heart. In the end, I suppose that is the mark we leave on each other. I for one, am better for having this mark.

Gordon (Don) McNely

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