I have been in a glum mood since finding out a grad school classmate passed away recently. What’s worse than learning that a 35 year old acquaintance died is knowing that you had a falling out with him because of some comments made about his self-destructive lifestyle in the newspaper advice column.
When I was selected columnist for the business school newspaper, I vowed to write openly without concern for public opinion. While I had developed a following, that honesty also elicited what–in today’s tech age–would translate into defriendings. He threatened to sue the school. The newspaper retracted my comments. And less than a year later we had little care in the world, graduating with high hopes and grand ambitions.
I’m not proud of being the cause of someone’s past misery, which makes me all the more sorrowful over his death. I hope he soon forgot, as I did, until the memory resurrected itself as I read his obituary.
He was an accomplished athlete and academic. But what struck me most was how much his family loved him. His dad’s letter had me grabbing for tissue: “I love you more than words can express and always will and I wish I had said this to you more when you were alive. Love, Dad.”
Bucky, I’m genuinely sorry for our past estrangement. When our paths cross again, because I’m confident they will, I’ll tell you in person how wrong I was and how I admire you for living your earthly life with such passion and fervor. Rest peacefully. xoxo, vixen