Monday, February 10, 2014

Farewell to a Friend

"Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret?  There are better things ahead that any we leave behind."
- C.S. Lewis

This has been a very difficult week at the Launchpad.  Just one week ago (though it seems much longer), the Brave Astronaut clan, the Cheverly community, and I'm also convinced in a way, everyone, were stunned by the premature loss of my friend and next door neighbor, and founding member of the "collective."

Our friend Riley left us entirely too soon.  He had faced an inordinate number of health challenges over the past year (and through his entire life), but these past several years were the happiest - with his wife and two children.  As has been noted here before, their two children are very close to LBA and SoBA and the eight of us did a lot together.  Riley and I had often talked of removing the fence between our yards because the kids were always climbing over it instead of going around through the gate.

Then again, had we done that, neither Riley nor I would have had something to lean on during our many conversations about politics, our town, our families - there was no subject that Riley wouldn't talk about.  Riley was my "spotter" and support structure for working in and around the house, if I didn't quite know how to finish something - I'd go find him, because he would know.  We never got to build our communal shed - but I'm going to work on that this summer, and I know that he will be around to help me.

Last Monday, I noted on Twitter that I was having "one of those days that you don't like to have. But if you have to have it, have it in Cheverly."  I am so touched by the support of this community for Riley's family at this time and am honored to be a part of this great place.

When we sent Riley home on Saturday, his family was supported by hundreds of friends and we heard stories of comfort, humor, and dignity - all integral parts of Riley's character.  Riley spent most of his life working in politics and I woke up on Saturday morning with Ted Kennedy's eulogy for his brother, Bobby, stuck in my head.
"My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. 
Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world. 
As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:"
"Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not."
Farewell my friend.  You will be greatly missed and I know that you will always be with us.

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