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.
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?
As it was explained to me, it was an undiagnosed heart condition. Thanks for sharing the news about the musical memorial.