An old friend of mine passed away suddenly in a car accident in March. Friends and acquaintances continue to post things on his Facebook page; he is truly missed. Though you, my readers, don’t know him, I feel that everyone should, so this is my attempt to spread word of this wonderful man.
Richard was inspiring, one of those rare and unique individuals that come along so infrequently, but touch the lives of so many. Here is his obituary, but that is just part of his story.
Richard was a gentle soul who loved to laugh, forever curious about the world. He was a much-loved teacher. Right before his death he had accepted a teaching position in Shanghai and was learning to speak the language. He loved to travel and was a master storyteller when sharing his travel experiences.
After some tough years of suffering from a rare form of cancer, he sacrificed his leg for his life, but he didn’t give up his spirit to live life to the fullest.
Because of him, I made a decision I can’t share yet, but I hope to share it soon. In the meantime, here is a poem I wrote right after he left us.
One sudden death can produce ripples
as big as surfable waves;
some will ride their shock on
to greater things; they will heave a board
to the top of their dreams,
enjoying their own breathless ride
to its end with gratitude
and dedication, like you.
For others, the ripples will be bigger, scarier,
like tidal waves that gather their fears into a fury
that sweeps away all that they thought they had,
leaving them clinging to whatever has roots
enough to survive the disaster.
I want to be the surfer.
Let me hear the ripples of sorrow
with an attentive ear
toward my own future.
I can’t be you,
but I can choose to be like you.
Tell me, Richard —
where to get the board —