My friend Hal passed away today. He was checked into the hospital yesterday with stroke-like symptoms, and never woke up. I wanted to rush over to the hospital to see him when I heard, but they weren’t allowing visitors.
I wanted to be able to say goodbye. It’s hard not getting that.
Hal was around 30 years older than I am. We worked together at WordPerfect Corporation — he was managing a support team that neighbored on my own box in the cube farm, and I remember having lots of fun talking with him. He was bright, and quite wise.
A few years back he moved in to my cul-de-sac, and I loved having him as a neighbor. My kids love playing with his grandkids, and he and I sometimes had the chance to sit on his porch and speculate, muse, and discuss.
Back in July of 2004 he lost his son Ben to suicide. I remember blogging that in LJ, and I remember talking to Hal at length about tragedy, and especially about losing my own parents long before I expected to. I remember stumbling across a memory of Ben almost a year later, and wondering whether I’d stepped on a landmine, or into a patch of flowers.
I remember the dutch-oven chicken Hal made last year for our cul-de-sac’s barbecue. It was some of the best chicken I’ve ever had, largely because some of it was on the raw side of undercooked. I guess I’m a sucker for raw food… I wouldn’t let them throw mine on the stove.
I’m going to miss Hal, but I’m sure that over there on the other side he’s meeting up with old friends and long-lost family members whom he has been missing for much longer. It’s reunion time, and I’ll not begrudge him that.
I’d like to think that he’ll get the chance to talk to my Dad. Hal’s death reminds me of how much I miss my parents. I’m not in any hurry to go see them, mind you. I’ve got too much to do here. I just wish I could talk with them about stuff from time to time. Hal was a good enough friend that he got to stand in for them occasionally.
Can’t see the keyboard through the tears. Time to stop.