April 15, 2004

James Garrett

What can I say about Ray that has not already been said?

I remember Ray. I think of him often. I think of him now more than I probably did when he was alive. That is sad, but true. At the memorial, someone said that they only saw Ray at holidays, or something like that, and I think that that was true for most of us. I had the good fortune to have seen Ray, and Sophie and Rose, several times in the two months before his death, and I thank God that I did. Ray was a friend, and dare I say, something more. I have spent a lot of time over the last month or so thinking about why I miss Ray so much. I still have not put my finger on it, but I think that it is a combination of love, friendship, dreams, fear, sadness and hope. Blaise said it so well when he said that Ray was part of our future. I just finished scrolling through the pictures on the website and I have to keep telling myself that it really happened - that he is really gone. Ray and I were rock-hopping through a creek, drinking Coronas, and beaming at our children and their cousins just two months ago. What happened? What went wrong? Where is he? Why can't I see him again? Why? Perhaps I should not dwell on what happened. Perhaps I should just accept things the way they are. My cousin Sean echoed my sentiment at the memorial when he questioned God. Why Ray? Why now? I guess that there is no rhyme or reason. Perhaps when it is your time, it is your time. Sad. Sad for those he left behind. Sad for so many that were touched. But again, everyone who seems to have met Ray was touched in some way. A little piece of him is in me. Remarkably, the size of the piece is not proportionate to the time that I spent with Ray on this earth…it is so much larger. I like to think of myself as a good person, but I am better because I knew Ray. And since his death, that piece of Ray in me has gotten bigger. I am training for the Alcatraz swim, running everyday, and I think twice about raising my voice in an argument. I am trying to listen better. I write love notes to my wife and son - just like Ray did to Sophie and his Rose. It sounds trite, but I really am a better person because of Ray. I have never been an overly religious person, but I believe in certain truths, and I believe in God and love. I believe that Ray embodied many of those truths, and that he certainly embodied both love and all that is beautiful about God. I do not have any answers - only more questions. But I think that Ray was put here to grace us. At least, that is what I want to believe. He changed my life, and apparently, the lives of untold others. The pictures and stories do not lie. He was an amazing man. Before his death I had many things that I wanted to accomplish before I died, but now the list is shorter. Shorter, but more important and focused. I want to make sure that everyone I love knows it. I want to make sure that I am true to myself. I want to see the world in all of its splendor. I want to taste everything, try everything and fear nothing. I want to have no regrets. I want to remember Ray, and share my memories with everyone that will listen. It may sound silly, but I want to be someone that Ray would have been proud to call his friend. Where this is going, I do not know. What can I say about Ray that has not already been said? Nothing, but I will never forget about Ray or the things that he taught me - in life and death.