Musings & Threads. From the Outside Looking In.
From the Outside Looking In.
Time Gone By.
What is it about the holidays? ….it seems to be a time that we “lose” loved ones. We hear about people from our past that passed away. RIP is the start of posts. Too many to count.
Some hit harder than others. We lost a near and dear friend on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Phil, in fact, was a friend of my husband’s since they entered ninth grade together. Phil pushed Barry down a flight of stairs on their first day of high school. Just like that, no apparent reason. Barry retaliated, and since then it’s been like --Barry and Phil. Phil had many health problems over the past few years, after triumphing over cancer more than a decade prior. We’ve had so many good times together with his wife and family, and ours. While we are grieving his passing, we were fortunate to have had time to tell Phil how much we loved him, to show up, and in our own way, to say goodbye.
Last week, I heard about the death of a man I knew when we were children--Geoffrey Goldstein. My twin brother Ken, had just reached out to someone in our high school class to see if he had Geoffrey’s contact information. And, he got a text back in response… sorry to have to tell you this, but Geoffrey passed away a few days before Thanksgiving.
Ken was troubled. Of course about Geoffrey’s passing, but also he seemed to want to connect to his past— to those days on Ronnie Drive, when life was simple, and summer breezes swayed the trees when we stayed out way after dark.
Then I began seeing posts on Facebook. A friend of mine from junior high school—who I really liked a lot—posted a photo of himself with Geoffrey at a Mets game last summer—apparently the last one they would ever attend together—in the flesh that is. I would have recognized Jay in a second, but Geoffrey did not look as I recalled. I couldn’t get the photo out of my mind. It also kept popping up on FB as names and faces from the past were commenting on the photo and extending condolences to Jay—they must have remained very close friends over the years. My mother died when I was 14, so I drifted away from my friendships—overwhelmed with grief, household responsibilities and working at a work-study job nearly full time, while I was also a student. I immersed myself in “purposeful” activities as everything that seemed age appropriate just paled in the scheme of things and “purpose” was my only distraction from my own reality.
So this week, I was drawn—almost compelled—to see if I could learn something more about Geoffrey so that I could celebrate his life in some way and thereby pay my respects after years of absence. I know many people are extremely interested in learning more about others—Google searching, on FB, etc. Although I am a researcher by trade, I have a wall there—feeling that would be intrusive—so okay for business, etc., but not people’s lives. But there I found myself on Geoffrey’s FB page, which of course was linked to Jay’s. So, I went back through photos that he had posted or was tagged in, and there I saw a grown up version of the boy I knew when I was 5 or 6, only handsome and in college; and then many from the years after. In one photo he looked “deep” and dreamy—wearing bell bottoms and smoking a cigarette in a backyard in Brooklyn. He still had his trademark freckles, and I could see his face—his young face--clearly. He had a beautiful wife and family, and it looked like he worked in banking –as I did. He lived on the Upper West Side—we probably crossed paths so many times both geographically and professionally. He had—if photos don’t lie—many friends from work, college, family… life. Some were people I had drifted away from many years prior.
And, here I am, so many years later, feeling a tinge of remorse that I had not stepped back in. There are people that I let go that I could easily have resumed friendships with as we travelled through… college, marriage, children, grandchildren!
My husband’s mother always said that “Time flies on the wings of the wind.” I believe this to be true.
Godspeed Geoffrey Goldstein. It looks like you led a good and happy life and you brought joy to those around you and them to you. It looks like you were a loving family man and a good friend. From posts I learned that the reason I didn’t recognize you in the original Mets photo was that you were battling cancer, and it was taking its toll. I’m sorry for that as well.
For those that made it through to the end of this life rambling, I leave you with this song that somehow brings me solace at times like this, as Geoffrey’s passing has brought forward the feeling of time fleeting, and losses over the recent years. Hit it Levon. When I Go Away. By Levon Helm. (Click here.)