Today is the birthday of one of my oldest friends on planet. We met when I was 16 years old and I was hired to work at the same part-time after-school job at which he was already employed. We hit it off instantaneously because of our mutual joy in laughter, love of any play on words, elation with the exceptional double entendre and the supreme joy of the call back to any previous joke or wise crack. Additionally, as male and female friends, we nurtured and sustained our relationship for over 45 years without ever seeing each other naked!
Over the years, there were times where we saw each other frequently, or where we went for long periods without even making time to chat. Life sometimes got in the way. But, when we did talk, we were always blessed to be able to pick up mid-sentence from the last time we spoke. He was one of the few absolute loves in my life. And fucking cancer wrecked it all.
When his life long love, Mary called to tell me he was sick, he was already in hospice. Cancer crept up on them with such a stealth trek that they never saw it coming. And by the time they were aware of the the misfortune, it was too late to forge a defense. It was colon cancer. It was sneaky and fast. And, it was over way too soon.
I have not had the words to even comment in the month plus in which Jim has been gone. I am never at a loss for words. This is as first for me…and for him too, I guess! I’m sad, I’m pissed and I’m so sorry for Mary and Kathleen…and all rest of the family who I know are missing him even more than I.
The only positive thoughts I can entertain right now is that Jim’s
legacy probably spans the globe. He was one of the few people who could walk through Grand Central Station at rush hour and hear someone squeal, “Jimmy Mahon!” So many people knew him and everyone who knew him loved him. He was so much fun. He always has a twinkle in his eye. Even when he was incredibly irate and irritated about something…anything. At those times he was even funnier without trying. He could make the most horrible situations entertaining. And he could make the most common occurrences seem like a celebration. Any given conversation with Jim always made his co-conspiritor feel like the most important person in the world. That was his gift. He touched the heart of everyone he met. And people always remembered him and thought of him as a friend.
His family misses him more that words can describe. But his peripheral people, I’m sure, feel the same. I know I do. I wish he had more time. But I’m so very glad and grateful for the time I did have him, in and out of my life. He was a great human and I know his legacy is that he affected the lives of everyone who ever came in contact with him. He had a gift and we were all so lucky he shared that with us.
Happy Birthday, old friend! I’ve loved you for years, without ever seeing you naked!
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