My Friend Hal

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.

16 thoughts on “My Friend Hal”

  1. I don’t know you, and I didn’t know Hal, but I just happened upon you entry and wanted to let you know I am very sorry for your loss, and even though we’re strangers, I’m going to be saying a prayer for you and your friend tonight.

  2. Condolences. I lost my mum January. My thoughts are with you and your friends famly, may you have the strength to get through this..

  3. Even with the knowledge and understanding of eternal things, situations like these are never easy. My thoughts and prayers are with you, and both families, brother.

  4. It’s hard losing a loved one, and there’s nothing we can say to truly ease your pain, but keep this in mind: part of who they are is in you. You’re a richer person because of the love of your friends and family. Yes, you’re mourning your friend, but also celebrate his life. Cherish the time you had together, and look forward to the day when you’ll be together again.

    You’re in our thoughts and prayers.

    God bless,

  5. It’s difficult to lose a friend. it sounds like you’re better for having known Hal and hopefully you can see him again.

    Sorry for your loss. I’ll pray for you, and your friend’s family.

  6. Second Star To The Right, and straight on till morning Hal…

    We all lose people we love Howard. It suck for a time and then we get to join them.


  7. I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am for your loss. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

    I just lost my last and favorite Grandfather just before Christmas and was surprised at the pain once the numbness went away.

    One thing I have found useful is writing letters to him and then just putting them away. It is not as good as a talk with him, but I would often find myself “hearing” his voice in response to my writings. I guess I know his tone and advice well enough that my brain can plug in the right words to make it feel like his is almost still with me.
    Maybe he is.

    I look forward to seeing him again when he isn’t hampered by Alzheimer’s or old age and can laugh at his corny jokes all over again. I wonder how many new ones he will have picked up by then…

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