Goodbye, my friend.

"I believe that when I go it will be like sailing over the horizon.  I'll look behind me and you'll all be gone.  But I'll still be sailing."

“I believe that when I go it will be like sailing over the horizon. I’ll look behind me and you’ll all be gone. But I’ll still be sailing.”

A few moments ago I lost the best friend I ever had, my mentor, sponsor, and spiritual guide; the person who knew me inside and out, understood the back story, had experience with all the characters, and somehow believed that even with all that, that permanent recovery was God’s plan for me.  When I said I’d received a crazy phone call from my mother, he knew what I was talking about; he had been on the receiving end of those calls.  When I told him I didn’t believe in God, he took me to his cabin and helped me find a Buddhist based, philosophical approach to the steps that I could live with.  Everything to Joe was “the most fabulous” thing ever.  Joe spent decades of his life taking people through the steps, always helping each of us find a way that we could get through it.  He was never dogmatic, was always embracing of wholeness and unity and inclusiveness.  He was the most loving, most optimistic, most positive person I have ever known.  His absence leaves a hole in my heart that goes all the way to China.

 

You can read his extraordinary memoirs in The Lover and the Madman.

  1. I’m sorry for your loss, Chris. He sounds like he was a kindred spirit for you.

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  2. I’m very sorry, sweetie. Thinking of you.

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  3. Very sorry to hear this. The loss of your good friend and mentor is sad. Take care.

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  4. i am sorry chris- i too, lost my mentor 9/12- and have not really been the same since. it gets easier- the living- not the mourning- and through service i find relief.

    “Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. But if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction. On the other hand, wretchedness–life’s painful aspect–softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose–you’re just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We’d be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple. Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.”
    ? Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

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  5. How painfully sad. I’m so sorry.
    My father died in March of last year. He was a sponsor, mentor, and friend to many folks in his 12 step group, with attributes similar to what you describe in your friend.
    May you find strength through this time of grief.

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  6. I know how much he meant to you. He was an amazing person. I’m sorry for both your personal loss as well as the universe as a whole. He will be missed. *hug*

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  7. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s never easy when we lose someone so close to us or in which we look up to. My thoughts are with you!

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  8. heart broken for you – so very sorry to hear, and that you bore this alone for an “appropriate amount of time” – <<<<>>>>

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    1. a few hours, just until people who should be called on the phone could be reached. thank you heidi.

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    2. Love you, Chris. Joe K. was a shining example to us all. I’ve resolved to trudge on. I think that is what he would want of us.

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      1. yep. i’m sure it is.

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      2. I feel the same Chris. He taught me many things about life situations that I was going through, like this situation in losing someone we really care about!

        ~Stu

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      3. Sorry to hear this Chris. When you form these kind of abiding and loving relationships they are terrible to lose. It is not often that we get to choose our own family, in this case you did.
        My sympathies.

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