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Feb 09 2013

For my missing friend

I mentioned a good friend of mine died last week from sudden cardiac arrest. His funeral is today and I probably won’t feel much like blogging. His best friend and I were given the honor of writing the service program obit, what mourners will read at the funeral. We were tasked by the director to hit certain points and there was a narrow word count, but we wanted to give an organic feel to it so that friends and family would know this wasn’t done by a paid writer who didn’t know the deceased, it was done by two people who love him and miss him. That rough draft is below with some details removed or altered out of respect for his privacy.

Gregory “Greg” [___] passed away suddenly at his home last week from sudden cardiac arrest. He was 50 years old.

 

Greg was born on ___, 1962 to his surviving mother, [___], and his late father, [___]. He spent his early years stationed with his family at Spangdahlm, Germany, where his father served as a pilot during the height of the Cold War. He later moved to Austin and graduated from [___] in 1980. It was clear Greg was a gifted artist at an early age; it surprised no one who knew him that he went on to graduate with honors from {__] with a degree in Architecture and quickly found his first job as an architect the following month designing some of the most innovative buildings and monuments in the southwest.

 

Greg was a quiet, thoughtful, and kind man. He played golf, threw darts with the best of em, and enjoyed the outdoors, especially fishing and skiing. Greg leaves behind many friends who loved him, in part because of a rare quality too often unappreciated these days: he was a superb listener. For these reasons and many others his passing has left a big hole in the lives and hearts of those of us lucky enough to have called him our friend.

 

Greg may no longer be among us, but we dearly hope his friends and family may one day take some small measure of pride and comfort knowing that dozens and dozens of buildings, homes, and artwork stretching across the southwest, from Las Vegas through Arizona and Texas, will bear silent witness to his creative genius and artistic passion for decades to come. A service celebrating Greg’s life will be held this Saturday, at [___] at 11:30 AM.

Obviously as an atheist, I can’t offer comfort involving deities at the service today. But I did some research with my cardiologist and several cardiac nurses on the cause of death. I carefully reviewed his last moments, essentially, he was helping a relative with a minor house keeping task, stood up normally to reach for something, and collapsed in an instant without flinching a muscle or making a sound.

Sadly, these professionals have personally witnessed every kind of cardiac death known to medical science and many other deaths, they all told me the same thing. One who was religious said it like this: “There are no good ways to go, but there are a lot of horrific, lingering, painful ways. The kind of SCA you describe may be the most painless, fearless and merciful natural death the Lord has yet to devise. Your friend wouldn’t even have had time to be afraid, much less suffer.”

 

3 comments

  1. 1
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    It seems this is the best in a bad situation. My condolences to you and your friend’s family and friends.

  2. 2
    Crudely Wrott

    That you remember and treasure your memories of Greg is your greatest tribute to him. He would be grateful could he know. Perhaps he already did.

    My condolences and sympathy are extended to you.

  3. 3
    Stephen "DarkSyde" Andrew

    Thanks folks. It was a nice service, lots of tears and lots of smiles as we celebrated Greg’s life. I didn’t burst into flame when I crossed the thresh hold for the church. There was one part where attendees were invited to come and take communion, as well as kneel and pray at the rail up by the pulpit. I was worried I’d be the only one who didn’t do so. But a number of others remained in their seats too, making me a feel a little less like an outsider.

    Whatever closure or healing funerals are supposed to provide, I haven’t found any yet. All I can think … Oh Greg, you left us way too early my friend. I am heartbroken for him, for his family, and I’m finding it hard to let go of the fact that had this been 2014, or any other developed nation on earth right now, I could have taken him to the ER for a check up, or maybe even had a PCP assigned to him who might have caught his heart condition early enough to make a difference.

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