I'm sorry for your loss man. My condolences to you and the rest of his family. He sounds like a helluva man.
In case the thread title didn't clue you in, this is a serious downer. I apologize for that, but I need to let this out and screaming incoherently in sadness and rage is frowned upon in my neighborhood. You have been warned.
After an all-too-short 35-year friendship, I have lost my best friend, my more-brother-than-my-brother, my occasional art-partner, my late-night drinking and discussion buddy...
I met Matt when I was an undergrad art major and he was working on his zoology doctorate. We met while hanging out at the science fiction club's office and library on campus and found that the small-town WASP and the Brooklyn Jew shared intersecting tastes in art, reading (not just SF), women and alcohol. Over the years, we shared several apartments, we dated some of the same women (sometimes sequentially, sometimes concurrently, and were all still friends these many years later), we stayed up all night silk-screening posters for club movie showings (Our *FIRST* poster -- the first silk-screen job that EITHER of us had ever done -- was a five-color marathon of, I think, 250 copies, done on the kitchen table, with sheets with ink drying on them covering every flat surface in the apartment, as well as the front and back stairs and landings!), we sat and talked for hours, we companionably ignored each other while working on our various projects, we taught each other and learned from each other, we watched cheesy late-night Mexican "horror" movies or old Charlie Chan flicks over UHF on a battered black and white TV set...
We went our separate ways after college, staying in touch via long phone calls or multi-page letters and, even as the times between those grew longer -- having families can do that -- when we DID get together, it was as if no time at all had passed; we slipped into synch as if the months and miles were nothing.
Matt was diagnosed with cancer almost two years ago. By the time it was found, it had spread throughout his body and the doctors gave him six to nine months to live. What they failed to realize was that they were used to dealing with a NORMAL person. Matt had always lifted weights, played handball, was an inveterate runner and cross-country skier, took annual long-distance canoe trips -- in short, he was in the sort of physical condition that most of us dream about but wimp out on trying to achieve. He took on some pretty intensive chemotherapy, outlasted the doctors' predictions and stayed as active as he possibly could right to the end. He took his last week-long canoeing and camping trip with friends last summer, he closed out his career teaching biology at a Vermont college last December (Not a big, fancy school, but one where he could live and work out in the country -- and the skiing was great!), and he took his daughter on a week-long trip to California to check out Stamford just a few weeks ago.
He passed away in his sleep Tuesday night.
He was buried in a simple, unadorned pine box -- once he was done with his body, he wanted to send it back to the world as quickly as possible -- under the trees on his property which looks westward over the valley that he had loved. Among the people who showed up for "Matt's last party" were his siblings and family, friends from his undergraduate and grad-school days come from literally all across the country, as well as students who had met him for the first time when he had taught them last fall. The students that I spoke with afterward said that every one knew that he wanted them to succeed and could tell that he worked as hard as THEY did to make sure that they DID succeed. For the rest of us, the most telling thing was how many of us used the words, "He was my best friend."
He leaves behind his wife, four children ages 12 to 17, an older brother and sister (who never thought that their baby brother would be the first one to go) and their families, and a hell of a lot of people like me who have lost their best friend.
Very sorry for your loss.
my condolences, and both you and he are in my thoughts and prayers.
"do what bert says" - Flamestar (c/o Ouzo Man)
A sandwich is a sandwich, but a Manwich is a meal
"Evil people can do some non-evil things, and most of them do. That doesn't mean they aren't evil." -- JeffereyWKramer
You guys sound like OG knuckleheads from the day. I'm sorry to hear death had to come and fuck up the party, but honestly it seems like death's about the only thing that could, from the way you describe your bond with your friend. My deepest regards.
(we're on Tumblr too!)
I'm so sorry to hear that. He seems like a seriously amazing person. I lost my grandfather a month ago and my uncle about two years ago to cancer. It's the worst way to go.
I color comics sometimes: MichaelCGarland.com
Sorry, man. That's horrible.
Aw, man, my condolences. I'm so sorry to hear that.
So to hear this news, CutterMike. My condolences.
Oh and if a mod would kindly delete the living hell out of this tread so I do not continue to look like a total tool, I'd appreciate it.
- a wise man
My comic - The Necropolis Chronicles - can be bought here:
Issue 1, 24 pages:
Issue 2, 24 pages:
Book 2, 48 pages, all new story arc:
All my deepest condolences.
Friendship is being there when someone's feeling low and not being afraid to kick them.