“Is there anything that worries you right now?”
“Yes”, he replied, glancing at the news on the television. “Reincarnation”.
These were the words of a much beloved town resident, Jim Breingan, recently departed. To look at him he was an old hippie. To talk to him he was a Lama. A poet, an adventurer, a photographer, a man who lived like an artist, a lover of animals, a glowing, emanating spirit, a conundrum. To almost everyone in town he was a friend.
I was deeply impressed by his soulful and profound insights, proferred while standing next to Deli counter at Q-Foods. I loved his deliberate but unceasing anthropomorphism of creatures, especially Gorgeous George, his pet ram. I delighted in his absolutely cryptic Facebook posts that would have taken linguists, forensic detectives and holy men to unravel. I wondered about the inner mechanisms of this placid, gentle man, the son of a war hero. I was touched by his emotional response when I thanked him for his kind words on a really awful day, for their deep sensitivity and spiritual heft. His eyes were wet as he stood next to the sausages. So were mine.
I visited him in Palliative care just recently. I said I would visit him the following week. He replied simply, “I won’t be here”. Oh, where are you going? “I’m closing up shop. It’s all planned.” That was it. No drama, no tears, no pain in his eyes or quaver in his voice. He was ready, and he had put a plan in place. The only emotional thing he even said to me was, “I think the angels are already circling”. I don’t doubt that. They will have recognized one of their own and welcomed him with open arms.