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April 28, 2003 / gus3

I’ll Miss You, Dan

This isn’t the way it was supposed to happen. He was my friend, my opponent, and my partner in crime, and he was supposed to out-live me.

Instead, at 41, he died at home, most likely of a heart attack. I’m going to his funeral tomorrow. I’ll see him, just like I said I would the last time I saw him. I said, "Catch you later." He probably returned the comment. And now all of that has come to naught.

I had to find out about it the day after I walked away from a job with abusive co-workers, a couple hours after a wonderful phone call to a dear friend, and right before the Orthodox Pascha celebration. What a way to strip all the joy out of the holiest day on the Church calendar. I could barely get Christos anesti ek nekron… out of my mouth. As the priest read the magnificent Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom, we were supposed to be declaring the end of death and the triumph of the Lord. Instead, as he asked the famous questions from First Corinthians:

O Death, where is thy sting?
O Hades, where is thy victory?

all I could do was stand there and cry. I know where the sting of Death was last night: right in my heart.

I’ve complained very loudly to the Lord before, even shaken my fist once. Better to the Lord than to someone else, right? I don’t have the heart this time to do that. Besides, I know that His permission doesn’t denote His approval. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. But it is this way, like it or not.

I’ll miss you, Dan. No other friend will ever be quite like you.

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