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The Departed: A Tribute to a Fellow Traveller
Written by Neil Gonsalves for Seeking Veritas on Substack
One day you’re sitting on a roof top patio having lunch, talking about writing books, starting a book club, discussing collaborative projects and figuring out the best days to do your monthly lunch get togethers; a couple of weeks later you’re reading a message telling you your friend is gone.
The search for meaning is generally futile; some questions just remain unanswered. An anticlimactic conclusion to a friendship cut short by an unpredictable life event. Reprieve is only found in the memories remaining. The conversations once had, the plans once made that will never come to fruition. A friend gone, a confidant lost, that’s one less friendly face I will pass, in the days that will inevitably come, and necessarily pass.
Mourning is an interesting experience. There is sadness and loss, regret over things left unsaid and conversation left with a pin in them, ones you can no longer go back to that will forever remain unfinished. - Then insidiously imposter syndrome wraps jaundiced tentacles; how can I grieve, there are so many who were closer, who probably hurt deeper. There are so many who were around longer, whose memories span decades. - But grief is unpredictable and it does not neatly organize itself in order of importance. It just needs to be experienced in whatever way feels right.
For us outliers and misfits, camaraderie is rare, genuine connections are few and far between. - There was comfort sitting around the small table, in those high back chairs arranged in a circle; sipping coffee, having a natter and finding comfort in friendship, laughter, and conversation on challenging days. A fellow traveller on life’s journey, bonded together with a shared identity we called “constructive deviance” characterized by a willingness to cause discomfort with the primary objective of challenging and improving the status quo.
The generosity of spirit, the kindness of word, the lack of pretension characterized his being and is the memory that remains. He will always be larger than life, a true free spirit, who shared his Indigenous heritage with pride and always made room for others to join his circle. He was the best kind.
In the end there is no right way to grieve. Life is unpredictable and there is never a guarantee of tomorrow. Now all that is left is to raise a glass and offer a toast - here’s to those, whose presence enrich others, whose passing leaves a void, and whose memory still produces a smile.
Long may your big jib draw! - Ride on, b’y!
Here’s to the Departed!
About the Author:
Neil Gonsalves is an Indian-born Canadian immigrant who grew up in Dubai, U.A.E. and moved to Canada in 1995. He is an Ontario college educator, a TEDx speaker, an author and columnist, and an advocate for new immigrant integration and viewpoint diversity.