Wednesday, January 13, 2010

-30-


For the record, I wrote yesterday’s entry, Render Unto Caesar, the previous morning. But not long after posting it, at about eight-thirty, I became unaccountably apprehensive — something was wrong somewhere, but I didn’t know what it was.

The feeling stayed with me for the next hour or so, then it let up on my way downtown to have coffee with a writer-friend of mine. As was almost always the case, he wasn’t there when I arrived, so I sat down with a cup to wait. I finished it alone, then left, thinking he must have forgotten it was Tuesday. It had happened before.

I went home. Not two minutes later, the telephone rang. It was the administrator of the little care facility where my mother lives, calling to say that Mom was having a lot of pain in one of her teeth. So I quickly arranged an appointment for her with the dentist. As it turns out, two of her lower front teeth need to be pulled. And I thought, well, there you have it, my mother and I have always been on the same wavelength — no wonder I was nervous.

Meanwhile, I tried calling my friend a few times. He didn’t answer.

Now, the reason I’m writing this after one in the morning is that I’m wide awake after receiving the call that informed me of his death, in bed, of a heart attack or massive stroke.

For the past few months, Tim Hinshaw had been putting together a collection of his old newspaper columns. Back in the mid-Nineties, we published a small community paper together. I won’t go into that now; let’s just say we’ve been around the block a few times. And let’s also say that this first time around without him seems awfully strange.

16 comments:

Elisabeth said...

Oh dear, William. I'm so sorry to hear.

You must have a sixth sense. You knew it, it would seem, at some precognitive level, that something was wrong. Perhaps it was your friend's spirit nearby.

I am so sorry.

We joke about our frail bodies and death but when it comes knocking it is devastating for those left behind.

vazambam said...

William,

I've been there before--around the block with a dear friend who left just as suddenly as yours did and with only 46 laps under his belt, so I know how devastating it is. My condolences on losing your friend.

awyn said...

William,
I join with Elizabeth and Vassilis, in sending my condolences. Why don't you tell us more about him some day, wshare some of your and his memories; meanwhile, take heart in the rememberings, as if he had appeared at that table, coffee cup in hand, to join you that day. May he rest in peace, your friend.

-K- said...

William,

My sense is that the two of you created many wonderful yet quiet moments together.

Kevin

ALeks said...

When I was reading your post this evening the only thing in a front of my eyes were your drawings from " that which is left unsaid" with your eyes wide,wide open.Im so sorry to hear of your friends sudden departure,it would be better if we are somehow warned about leaving of dear people,to be able to say farewell and see you when I get there! I think you were sent a goodbye voice of him just you were not prepared and expecting it from him,I guess we never are.May he rest in peace.
And for you I wish warmth of dear people around you at these times,loads of beauty and peace of mind and for you to embrace it,losing friend is horrible,so take your time to grieve and take care William.I hope your mom is better now.
Aleksandra

Paul L. Martin said...

I am very sorry to hear of your friend's passing, William. I believe in the idea of interconnectedness, an oversoul or Atman that links us together. It is not surprising that you felt a change in the universe. Souls resonate with one another, and every loss in the universe is all of our losses.

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, as always, and I wish Tim's spirit "Godspeed" on his journey. It is left to us to soldier on in the world.

Akeith Walters said...

William:

Allow me to offer my condolences. Although I do not know you except through this vast intimate internet, I know what a painful void loosing a close friend can be. It is always amazing to me to hear about this sixth sense humans seem to share.

William Michaelian said...

Elisabeth, Vassilis, Annie, Kevin, Aleksandra, Paul, and Gray — my thanks to each of you for your heartfelt thoughts and good wishes. Tim and I knew each other for almost twenty-two years. During that time, we lived and died together quite a few times — enough so that this time isn’t as much a surprise as it is a case of mixed signals. For all I know, he’s wondering where I went. There were quiet moments, to be sure, moments when words weren’t necessary. In fact they never really were, even when we were blabbing away. But our friendship was also rooted in comedy, and death was one of the things we frequently joked about. I knew him well enough that I was also aware during recent months that he was slowly saying good-bye. Not that his heart was always in it: one of the last things we did together, just a couple of weeks ago, was to stop at a bookstore and buy him a calendar for 2010. Indeed, I will write more about him. Gray, it is less a void for me than it is a wondrous place inside that is growing ever larger, as it has been doing since I was much younger and death first began to explain itself to me. As I hinted in my previous entry, sometimes I think Death needs our sympathy. I’ll stop here for now. Again, to each of you, I offer a grateful Yes.

Conrad DiDiodato said...

My condolences to you, William, on the passing of your friend.

The kind people here have expressed with eloquence and compassion their sentiments on your loss. I add my own in a haiku,

death—
fresh morning prints
in the snow

Joseph Hutchison said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss, William, though I imagine you'll find the light behind it and lift that up into words. What else can we do? Words, words—as if all worlds were there...

William Michaelian said...

Beautiful, Conrad. Thanks very much.

And thank you too, Joe. A funny coincidence: Tim was quite an expert at crossword puzzles. He kept those pencils sharp.

~im just only me~ said...

William, I'm very sorry to hear about your friend. A friend's father died within the last few days as well - he was a good and laughing man - perhaps they met on their way...

William Michaelian said...

A nice thought. Thanks, Cassie. And I hope your friend is doing okay.

~im just only me~ said...

Yes, she has a good and strong family. I wish you the same.

isabelle said...

William, I'm very sorry to read about the death of your friend,22 years is a long time. The way you talk about death however is uplifting, I'd never looked at it that way before. I think you are a wise man .

William Michaelian said...

Cass, thanks again. We’re hanging in there.

Isabelle, thank you, too. I don’t know about being wise, but I do know I’m lucky to be here, and to have the chance to get acquainted with people like you. My thoughts on death go back to a time when I was perhaps five or six years old, and I suddenly became fascinated by the palm of my hand and wondered out loud, “Can I really die?”