Goodbye, Hiram.

My father’s in town, so I stopped by his hotel after work for conversation and dinner. I don’t see him frequently, so it was good to share what he unironically calls “father-son time.”

Since I last saw my dad, a childhood friend whose parents are my godparents died suddenly. My father related the story of how Hiram Watkins drove his parents to the airport that morning — and about the call they received a few hours later from his devastated girlfriend.

I haven’t lost many people who were close to me, and only a couple have been cohorts. My friend Tom Cole was 43 when he passed away; Hiram was 41.  I’m 41.

Hiram and I saw each other infrequently; when we connected as adults, I often felt that we were in an unacknowledged competition. Women, career, even cooking  — a passion he and I shared — were ways in which we subtly seemed to go head-to-head. When I became aware of the dynamic, I did my best to put on the brakes.

It’s callous to view a childhood friend’s passing as a “teachable moment.” Hiram’s death is not a developmental task or a growth opportunity.  Don’t expect to start seeing photos in my social stream of me skydiving or running with bulls.

It is an occasion for reflection, so I remind myself not to view each day as another spin of the wheel of fortune and have started thinking more about the things I truly want to do – not “one day,” but now and tomorrow. I’m more determined to keep my friends close. I’m even considering a year-long gym membership, as opposed to month-to-month.

Positive change comes from within, so odds are low that these new ways of being mindful will persist.

I guess we’ll see.



Filed under Personal

2 responses to “Goodbye, Hiram.


    I was a pal of Hiram’s back in HS. We are dedicating a music night on May 14th to his memory. Can you tell me how the gentle giant died?

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