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3:53 p.m. - 2013-07-30
A Letter I Should Have Sent Sooner or Never, depending.

Dear Jim,

I'm still trying to get my head around the truth. I am never going to open my comments and find one from you again. One of your always thoughtful, often funny, never disparaging or unkind comments. A dollop of friendship left on my virtual doorstep like a May basket. I'm finding it hard to believe I won't be able to stop by your journal and binge-read a month's worth entries at a go as was my habit. Entries without an axe to grind, hell, hardly ever even a grumble. Just thoughts and a record of the doings of your days. A loving husband. A devoted father. Interesting and interested. An athlete. A hobbyist historian. That such a man could just one day be gone...POOF! It's crazy. It makes me sad. And it makes me sorry. Sorry for the family you leave behind. That they should have to do without you from here on out is awful. All the stories will be told in the past tense or in the future anterior modified with longing. "Jim would have loved this!" "How Dad would have laughed at that!"

Death always leaves a hole. A hole puddled and soggy with regret. I regret you didn't get to finish that triathlon. Your very first. I read 'Frazz' a comic strip by Jef Mallett and Frazz is a tri-athlete (as well as being a songwriter and a school custodian, a man of varying talents and interests just like you) and I know those strips devoted to Frazz's sport will pinch me with thoughts of you forever. I regret that I didn't tell you often enough how much I valued our friendship. One of my longest and most constant diary friends, you were there for me during the messy hard years, you cheered me on during the years when I was so wobbly in my attempts to stand up for myself, and you were so very kind and delighted for me when I finally made my life into what I'd always hoped it could be. That we won't continue to go forward together as we both after decades of work and struggle got to enjoy the good part, the happiest, most complete part of our lives is a terrible, terrible regret. But mostly I regret that I didn't try harder to get together in person. You were down this way often enough as you trekked into the city to see your kid. Or went nostalgia stomping around your boyhood hometown on the river. The tiniest of doglegs and we'd be hugging in person. I regret we thought we'd catch up along the way somewhere, never got around to it, and now that opportunity is gone forever.

The good guys in my life have been far and few between. Circumstance, schmuck magnet, feeling unworthy of better, I've never been the most competent of decision makers or judges of character. But you, Jim, were the real deal, the definite article, an actual Good Guy.

And you were my friend.
Thanks. Thank you for being a good guy and with your friendship showed me how I was allowed to insist my lovers and my mate be good guys too.

Good-bye, my friend. I'm gonna miss you always, ~LA

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