My friend Richard H passed away 8 days ago. He was 55 and died, unexpectedly, of a heart attack. I knew Richard for only about a year’s time, but within that short window he affected my life in great ways.
He examplified what humbleness means. He practiced anonymous generosity on a daily basis. He was a man of much means, yet took the time to listen to everyone he met.
Richard invited some friends and I to his house for Easter Dinner this year. I had never visited his house, but upon entering the 5,000 square foot piece of modern architecture, I was in complete awe. His art collection consisted of original Warhols. I mean really, who has an original Warhol in their home? He had a female manequin dressed in a flowing peach-colored gown and matching hat, looking down on us from an interior balcony on the second floor. But I’m rambling. His posessions were not what defined him. The truth is he had 20 friends over and prepared a five course meal for all of his, on his own. It was spectacular.
About four weeks back he asked a friend and I if we’d like to join him and a few friends for dinner and a show at the new Varsity Theater in Dinkytown. We obliged and met him at the restaurant before the show. Much to my surprise, it wasn’t just “a few friends” he had invited, but roughly 30 people from the gym we both held memberships at. Richard quiety paid for both dinner and the theater tickets.
Such wisdom, intelligence, compassion, generosity, sweetness, and most of all, love. All of these things eminated from him as freely as one breathes the air.
Upon hearing the news, and the following days, I couldn’t help but think that Richard wasn’t done living. He had so much more to do. How sad that he left us so early. I also had never lost a friend. My grandfather, grandmother, and great grandmother had all died when I was a child, but they didn’t affect me like Richard’s death did. I didn’t know how to deal.
On Tuesday evening, Leo G put it into perspective in a marvelous way. He said that we can be sad, but this isn’t about us – it’s about Richard. And Richard lived wonderfully.
Goodbye, Richard, and thank you for all of the gifts you gave us all.