A good friend of mine, probably one of the most selfless humans I've ever met personally, died last night. He spent time on Culebra (when Thia was here) and many of you met him. Funny and patient and possessing many skills, he was a father, a sailor, a fisherman and a great cook - these just a few of his facets that I knew well. Plus he could dance!
Life threw him some of the most horrendous blows possible over and over and over - and he would bob back to the surface and start to skim along life again until he soared, continually amazing me with his joie de vivre. He shared that joy with everyone he knew, and if you met him, you got a dose. Just when it seemed that crazy things would stop happening in his life, he was diagnosed with cancer. Twice.
He was an ex-Marine, though he made sure I knew there was no such thing as an ex when it came to being a Marine. He was a conservative right wing guy (without the nut attached) and I still loved him, which tells a lot about Don. It wasn't what mattered most in the heart of our friendship. If we were talking wine, or how you make a salad, or how you crack open a blue crab, well, that was a different matter; we could get out the gloves!
After a year long battle with many health issues, the cancer chief among them, he succumbed last night, surrounded by family and friends. He wanted to come back to Culebra and stay a month or so, but every time he made plans something came up to prevent the trip. He loved it here, the island, the people, the feeling. He got it. I wish we'd had one more chance to laugh together, but I am very grateful for the times I did have with him. He gave me a lot and most of it will keep on being given as my memories of him continue.
Another good one is gone. He'll be sorely missed.