Friday, March 1, 2019

A Long Goodbye

He's gone, now.  There's a hole in the world that cannot be filled.

He's no longer striving to do that which had become impossible.  The Loathsome Disease that robbed him of his stamina and his thoughts released its hold on Tuesday morning.  I'm imagining him hovering over his house as his friends and family gather together to share memories - nodding and smiling and chiming in when a detail isn't just quite right.

He's a good listener, and I intend to keep talking to him.  He saw the world through a pediatrician's eye and heart, and I'm not willing to let go of his wisdom right now.  His heart-attack-in-Peru-adventure coincided with my perforation.  The hug we shared afterwards, when we were both, finally, upright and ready to visit, stays with me to this day.

We were feeble, where before we'd been strong.  We were unstable, where we'd previously been solidly planted.  We hugged and held onto one another, feeling our hearts beating, recognizing the wonder of it all. 

"It's good to see you!"  "It's good to be seen!"

Who said which first?  I don't remember.  I do know that those words were more than platitudes.  They were very real to both of us, to each of us, to our families who stood around us and smiled, ready to catch us if (when?) we fell.  He leaned on me, I leaned on him, and together we took a deep breath into the After of our lives.

We almost died.  We didn't.  We were gifted with bonus years, and we were bound and determined to enjoy them.  Sadly, the Loathsome Disease stole much of the joy, the opportunities, the adventures.  But his smile was still there.  The twinkle in his eye remained.  His handshake, though tremulous, still sent power and love through his fingers.  Burtt was still in there, though buried beneath a deteriorating self.

Dependent when independence had been his forte, he ran his caregiver ragged on their daily walk... until he decided that she could, in fact, keep up with him. They walked until he could no longer get out of bed.  He didn't always obey the traffic lights, didn't always stay on the sidewalk, but he moved, at his own pace, through the world he was preparing to leave.

At the end, he knew that he wasn't hungry, that he didn't want to eat, and no one forced him to feed the body that was betraying him. 

There was respect for the man himself, even if he was only a shadow of his former glow.  No one talked around him, over him, through him.  He was included even when his affect revealed nothing.  His opinion was sought, even after he was unable to share it.  He nodded.  He had an occasional YES or NO.  He was here until the end, in the ways that he could be, involved and revered and loved.

He was loved, so very, very loved. 

Is there anything better to be said about a life well lived? 

Rest in Peace, Burtt.  May your memory be a blessing.


  1. So beautiful. I think anyone who has you as a friend is lucky--including me. I think this testament to your friend was amazing. I felt like I knew him.

    May he rest in peace.

    Sending you love and hugs!

    Stacy xxx

    1. That makes me happy to hear <3 He was a special man. The world is a lesser place without him.
      Love you too, Stacy

  2. He seems to be wonderful. Your intention to keep talking to him is ok if you carry on with your life too.
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