"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever" ~Gandhi
Incredible the way it affects your being when "one of your own" dies. Especially when it is sudden. Even moreso when they were 12 years younger than yourself.
Today, I heard through the grapevine (amazing how small the world is, really...) that Neal died. Incredible shock was my first reaction. Disbelief was my second. How could someone so kind and gentle, who had so much to live for... someone so... *alive* just be dead? The evidence seemed indisputable, but I hadn't heard anything from any of my other unschooling or homeschooling sources, so maybe there was just some big, giant, horrible mistake? Still, the very *idea* of it crushed my heart and started me crying.
How do you ask folks for that information without being the bearer of bad news or a "rumor monger" (if it turns out to be untrue)? All I could think of was finding out it was a mistake and giving Neal the biggest hug the next time I saw him, and making sure I told him I was thankful for his friendship... Now I will never be able to do that.
His death will leave a big hole in every life he touched. Most especially his family. I so admired how gentle and sweet of a Papa he was. The thought of his children being deprived of him blinds me with grief. How incredibly, inexplicably unfair. Every time it enters my thoughts, it sets me weeping.
I want somehow to build a memorial or build an online page to honor and share him-and we weren't even close friends. It makes the "we only have the now" so much fresher in one's mind. We don't have that chance to get to know him later, when the kids are less needing of parental involvement. I'm sad that we won't get that chance, but it is also a reminder to keep my loved ones close and well cared for. Cherished. Important. Keep the relationships vital and thriving.
Neal, so many will feel your loss. I wish I had known you better. Goodbye, my friend. You will be SO deeply missed.