Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Requiem for a friend

Requiem for a friendLegendary film star Marlene Dietrich once said, "It's the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter."

Phil was that kind of friend.

Any time of the day or night, he'd be there. He was there during life's bleakest moments -- through devastating illness, the end of my first marriage. And he shared the joy of important milestones--two weddings, the birth of my son, law school graduation, the launch of a new business. He was generous, dependable, and unfailingly kind. He was also a tough pragmatist who wasn't afraid to give honest advice. And he was one of the funniest people I've ever met, a skilled storyteller whose jokes would leave me doubled over with helpless laughter, slapping my knees and gasping for breath.

Somehow, over the last few years, we got together less frequently. Work and family bring their own demands, and friendship went on hold. And his own life took a dark detour, leading him to places that those who loved him could not follow.

But almost three decades of friendship exert a powerful pull. Over the last few months I thought of him often and resolved to call him--always tomorrow, always tomorrow.

But I waited too long.

Last Friday I got the call. Three words changed everything: "Phil is dead."

So please don't wait until tomorrow to say, "I'm sorry".

Or "Thanks for everything."

Or "I love you."

Unless you want to say those words, as I did last night, in a eulogy for the dead.