I feel as if I've been saying goodbye to people I admire for a long time. There the father of one of my dearest friends, who died only days after celebrating his daughter's marriage. He was a great admirer of Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, a lawyer who never forgot who the law was supposed to protect.
I miss him.
An uncle with a nasty mouth and sweet ways who taught me to take everything and everybody with a grain of salt and if they don't like it, well, fuck 'em, cause I don't have to nothing I don't want to do just because a whole heap of fools are doing it.
The son who followed him to the other side a year later after pulling dozens of men, women, and children out of the nightmare of Hurricane Katrina. His heart stopped in the middle of the night and I like to think it was because his big old heart just couldn't stand the horror of what he'd seen in a drowning city.
A young poet who drowns before the world has the opportunity to really experience and understand her power. Her words inspire me to say everything that I want to say while I am alive.
And then there are the celebrities. People that you never met but that influence you all the same. The make you laugh, you sing along to songs that they made famous and somehow they become a part of you as though you had known them all of their lives.
And then they're gone.
For all the people I've lost:
Aubrey Brinsley Brandon
Elbert Brandon, Jr.
And if my mourning them makes sense to no one but me, all I can say is that somehow they touched something deep inside of me that affirmed for me what it means to be human. And for that they deserve my respect and my tears.