Another Boy Genius

‘Tis a fearful thing
to love what death can touch.

A fearful thing
to love, to hope, to dream, to be –

to be,
And oh, to lose.

A thing for fools, this,

And a holy thing,

a holy thing
to love.

For your life has lived in me,
your laugh once lifted me,
your word was gift to me.

To remember this brings painful joy.

‘Tis a human thing, love,
a holy thing, to love
what death has touched.

― Yehuda HaLevi


Sometimes, you start out to write about someone and soon realize you are writing about yourself. A great writer once wrote in a letter to a friend whose young son had unexpectedly passed away, “The golden bowl has broken, but it was golden.” I have always understood that as the value of what once was doesn’t ever diminish, even if the time with it has ended.

A friend of mine recently killed himself.

Our paths crossed at a time before I knew I was deserving of being loved.

Our physical paths crossed a lot earlier than that, we grew up less than a mile from each, attended the same schools at different times, and traveled the same roads. A few years age difference made it so we didn’t meet then.

We met in Seattle, we had a lot of mutual friends. Our paths started to cross multiple times a week.

I moved, he moved, we kept in touch and friendly, both recognizing the bowl was at one time golden and whole and beautiful.

Our last conversation six months ago wasn’t great. I felt he was stuck, full of excuses, and not living up to his potential. He thought I was blaming him. My attempt at a pep talk, getting him to recognize and remember his potential was received as though I was accusing him of squandering his talents.

When we met 24 years ago, I was a fragile, depressed, self-loathing boy that saw himself possessing no worth. Being told contrary to that was met with dismissal and I assumed that the person conveying that perspective clearly did not know the whole story. It took a long time and a lot of work before I could even see that perspective as valid, let alone start to believe it myself. It took a lot of work to undo the destructive thought patterns that were keeping me in that self-loathing rut.

It was a handful of people like him that dismissed my angsty self-deprecating comments and continued to remind me of the extraordinary human that was inside me. His influence is evident in the man who I am today and the man who I strive to become. And becoming that man is even more important now. All I can do is honor his influence and that of my other fallen brothers.

Rest now, Mikey.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.