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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Deaths In The Family

It's been a weird and crappy past seven days.
Three deaths. Three deaths involving family and friends of people I dare to call friend.
Two are from the U.S., and one from Canada.
All three friends have a hand in this blog and my life.

First: My buddy Steve in Illinois lost his long-time friend, Gary. Gary was a hippie, man. He was in his early 60s but seemed like he was older. I had met Gary only once, but I really liked him. He was always in pain and took far too many painkillers, it's a wonder he didn't die sooner.
Steve... he was the first person to sign up for the Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife blog, and freely admits he has no interest in Japan. But we're friends, and he was the reason I got involved in creating comic books, which led me to believe I could write this blog. After Steve's brother died 12 years ago, our great buddy Tom three years ago and now Gary, Steve jokes with his gallow's humor that I have moved up to next on the list. The fact that I write about anyone I know dying assures his humor is correct.

Second: Matthew - my buddy in Vermont who lost his younger brother Andrew in car accident in California. I had been in contact with Andrew less than a month ago. The whole Hall family is doing well - probably better than me. Andrew was a fun-loving and brilliant guy with a sense of humor better than my own.
Matthew... he was my best friend in Japan. He helped keep me drunk and he helped keep me sober. I continue to do this blog - and follow his advice on HOW to populate the blog with various articles after he commented on it once a couple of years ago - though I'm sure he doesn't recall that. I also present stories about our life in Japan to remind Matthew just HOW he got married. Age dims the memories ever so slightly. Matthew helped me create It's A Wonderful Rife back in 1990 for a JET Programme newsletter... and in fact... since Jimmy Stewart was his favorite actor, I created the title based on the bastardization of It's a Wonderful Life - one of MY favorite movies. 

Third: Rob, my buddy here in Toronto. Rob lost his Uncle Charlie (actually he's Rob's mom's cousin, but you know what I mean)... a great guy that I enjoyed meeting and talking with on a few occasions. His passing was not unexpected thanks to the cancer riddling his body.
Rob was pretty much with me in Japan, as he wrote nearly 70 times while I was there. In fact... for Rob's birthday in 1991, I said I would write to him every working day of March leading up to the date (31st)... I got bored of the standard letters after three days and began sending him short story after short story that I would write - sometimes two or three a day... That was when I knew I could be a writer... which is why I thought I could write comic book stories, which was why I thought I could create a "weekly" blog that now comes out twice a day.

So... for Steve, Matthew and Rob - Andrew Joseph and Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife salute you and bow our head in respect and sorrow for your loss. I knew them all and they shall all be greatly missed.

Andrew Joseph

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