I rose early today to make dough and homemade pizza. As I descended the staircase to make my way to the kitchen, I checked my messages.
My breath caught in my throat. It was news of a passing, no background, no preamble.
He didn’t make it.
I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope,
And gather dust and chaff, and call
To what I feel is Lord of all,
And faintly trust the larger hope.*
This was not how I envisioned my July 31 starting, I cannot fathom how Rachel felt. My first thought was that I would never hear his laugh again. George’s laugh was infectious and uninhibited, and it was always a joy to hear.
A friend asked about my favorite memories of George. I could not answer. There was no specific moment that captures my mind but rather it is a swirl and eddy of moments that blend into the fabric of my life. When I think of George it is almost immediate that I think of Rae, one of my best friends and George’s other half. The stream of consciousness of memories flow mainly around our time at Washington College and I am blessed to say that our friendship remained throughout the years that followed.
One of the brilliant facets of George’s character was that he always encouraged everyone to be their most outrageous inner-self. He believed in each of his friends in genuine fashion. He was real and he let you be real as well. There was no need for pretense or falseness when you were in his company and that itself was a balm in a world where so many expect so much from others. I could be sad without explanation, I could spout my incredulous opinions on anything and I always felt safe. George was a comfort zone, he was a man who offered a camaraderie and sense of peace to any and all who sought his friendship.
George loved to help people. He adored being a counselor at Camp Log and Twig, he aided in projects done by Habitat for Humanity, he promoted equality for all races and rights for women and for those in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. He was a champion of the under dogs and a voice for peace and non-violence. He was a voice that was determined to be heard and I weep and rage that his voice was silenced too soon.
George loved his family. Being a parent is one of the most incredibly difficult undertakings anyone can attempt in life. The love he held for Dawn, his beloved sister, his nieces Chloé and Autumn, his children Kismet, Calliope and Atticus was steadfast and certain. You can see the love and pride George has for them in the photographs that he shared with us all. I pray they never doubt that he cherished them. The greatest love was that between George and Rae for it was a love born from friendship, and though difficulties and challenges made life trying for them their friendship, their bond, their love remained and will live on in their children.
No one is without flaws. And George was not perfect. He struggled with personal demons and was striving to become a better person. He spoke of feeling blessed by the love and support of his family and friends in recent weeks and by all accounts he had found that inner strength to continue on a healthy path. And then a small act of greed and cowardice from a stranger ended his life. The cliché that no one is promised tomorrow echoes through my thoughts. George gave us all a gift when he told us that he felt blessed for he acknowledged the unspoken bonds we all share. I do not question how he felt about me or you because I know, after all he let us know without a doubt. He loved us all.
*In Memoriam AHH, Lord Tennyson