Thank You Alan

A friend of mine died yesterday, the dad of two of my closest friends. I hadn’t seen him in a while. He was a bigtime scientist and a doting father and husband. He was a funny guy. I remember him mostly smiling. Smiling at his daughters, smiling at his wife, smiling at me. Happy to hold the feminine chaos in his gaze. He could handle it. He seemed to revel in his ladies’ being-ness. That’s the part I saw anyway. He and I would huddle up in his kitchen or on the sidelines around big events – weddings, births of grandchildren, graduations, a celebratory family dinner, that kind of thing. I thought, at the time, I was keeping him company but now I realize he was doing that for me, the awkward-feeling not quite inner circle friend of his daughters.

He was beyond kind in those moments. He didn’t ask me those awful friends’ parents questions like how is school? or how is work? or what is new? or who’s this boyfriend? He didn’t make me talk. He’d sit with me and smile that beaming smile on me and say how happy he was that I was there to share whatever moment it was we were sharing, how good it was to see me, how great it was that I had come, how wonderful it was for him. And it felt lovely and quiet and comfortable.

And then someone else would come in and flutter around and start offering more coffee or more wine or more water or asking about outfits or side dishes or science something or whatever and we’d be in the mix again.

And the mix felt much better knowing he was there with that giant heart of his loving up all of us while we went all about our busy business. It is a huge loss. His was a huge life. I can feel him smiling at me right now. It’s a comfort to smile back. Thank you Alan for all you’ve done for me and for being who you were. See you soon.