We make holes in teeth!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

So Long, Friend

Richard E. "Dick" Folsom

An awful bit of July 4th news for us, the death of Dick Folsom, a good family friend for 30 years, at the too-early age of 57, of a massive heart attack. I'm 34 years old, and this is the first person in my life who has died unexpectedly. There have been relatives, but they've all been claimed by old age or diabetes or MS or some other long-standing illness which finally beat them. None of the previous funerals have been unexpected. This Friday evening I will attend my first ever viewing where the people never expected to be gathering so soon. My parents saw him at a friend's picnic 2 days before. Of course, everything was normal.

I've been mired in sadness since I found out Tuesday morning. My mom called about 11:00 and I asked how she was doing. Not so good, she said, there was bad news. She immediately followed that it wasn't anyone in the family. "It" couldn't be good, but I would never have guessed how bad it was. I was stunned. It was worse than family.

I've known Dick and his wife Janice forever, or since I was about 5 years old which qualifies as forever in my world. The last time we saw then was at a picnic or gathering at my parents house. My step-father, Dick, and I had probably drank too much and we talked about going camping or some other nonsense plans you talk about when you drink too much and bullshit the hours away. Of course nothing ever came of it, since we all woke up the next day and probably said it was way more effort than it was worth. Sitting around drinking and talking about it is always more fun than execution most of the time.

My wife danced with him at the wedding, where he was so drunk he started telling his story about when they were on a hunting trip and they went in a Chinese restaurant and something happened with an egg. Nobody ever laughed at it because it was so confused that nobody really knew what he was talking about. And he was usually so giddy with the story he just laughed at himself over and over and you had no idea what he was talking about. Good times.

It sounds like he was always drunk but I think it's more accurate to say that he enjoyed life. He wasn't a big fat drunk who ate red meat and fried foods all the time. He actually kept himself in shape, and recently started jogging again. But he enjoyed himself, which is the good thing to take away from it all. He didn't really let life get the better of him, even though he said for years that he was going to die early of a heart attack the same way his parents both did. So in the end, he enjoyed it about as much as he knew he would. You just never know when it's going to come around and collect you, even if you might suspect it could be any day.

I'm sad, but I have to take it as it comes. Life is short, but don't hold your breath waiting for it happen. I keep looking at my 11 week old daughter since Tuesday morning thinking there's a lot of good stuff to be happy about. But no matter how much I try to focus on the good things, the sadness of Dick's passing keeps creeping back in. I guess that's the effect you get when you remove one of the good people from the world.

So long, friend. You will be missed.

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