A Friend. A Legacy. Your Life Matters.

My Birthday Anniversary AKA Life Celebration was this past July 2015.

On the morning of my Birthday Anniversary, I was checking Email, Social Media and doing other computer bits. I was going through all the well wishes and congratulations for making it this far in life… when suddenly, I read a post about my high-school friend Joe Garside. He passed away from complications resulting from an injury he got earlier in the year.

I sat staring at my computer screen in disbelief.

The notes of Happy Wishes that flooded my social media wall became a blur as I began pondering my own life and those in my life that help make – in some big and small way – my life what it is.

On this day when I’m expected to be celebrating my birth and subsequent life of ups, downs, curves and relative calm, I could only think about the lives of Friends that abruptly ended this year, 2015.

Specifically, Joe Garside, Hannah Hornsby, Simon Mowforth  and Lynn Miles.

Many of you knew at least one of these excellent humans, but even if you didn’t know them, perhaps you may still find a nugget of goodness to chew on and ponder.

They were all young (or acted young!), full of life, and were all taken suddenly as I, from my little corner of the earth, took them for granted – you know, because I thought they would always be there.

Here are my jumbled thoughts on each one of these special people:

Joe Garside (USA) was a high-school friend with whom I got to re-know through social media. He had come to visit me in Taiwan a few years ago (as he lived in nearby China) for a few days and it was awesome.  Joe and I realized we had so much more in common than we thought we did. We had both been in the military, disenfranchised with the way our home country was going and we believed in our fellow human beings.
When we met after years of not seeing each other, we talked about invention ideas, Chinese and Taiwanese culture, our high school years and had a good ol’ boys drinking session.  It was a memorable visit.  Joe moved back to The States for a short time, then got another contract in China. We talked about him visiting Taiwan again and the plan was another visit for the end of this year or beginning of next.  I imagine we would have picked up where we left off from his last visit… but alas, the time has passed and now I can only mourn and remember Joe in what has quickly become The ‘Old’ Days.

Hannah Hornsby (Canada) was a friend I met quite a few years ago here in Taiwan.  Though we had met a few times before, my first impressions of her was as a volunteer at the summer LUVstock Festival in Taichung.  She was so unbelievably helpful and talented. She watched the entrance gate, had great ideas, spun fire and gave that reassuring Hannah Smile of hers that made everyone feel welcome (see her smile at the end of this post). For me personally, the Hannah Smile affected me and let me know that despite the pressure and stress of putting on a festival – everything was going to be OK. And it was.
When the last band and the last reveler went home from the festival, Hannah organized everyone to help clean up. And as the sun popped its head over the mountains at 6AM Monday morning, and it was promising to be a beautiful sunny day, we talked  about music, politics, veganism, and life in general until lunch time. This past last year we kept planning on meeting again soon and I missed a few opportunities to see her…  and now I miss her all the time.
Hannah is now etched in my memory as someone who was there in The Good ‘Old’ Days, too.

Simon Mowforth (England) was a musician I met through other musician friends. He played with his band at The Refuge Community Venue in Taichung many times.  Simon often stuck around for the after-party which consisted of drinks, great conversations and memorable jams. What attracted me to Simon as a person wasn’t just the music and creativity,  it was his vast knowledge and collection of books. When we did get a chance to chat one on one, we mostly talked about books we had read. We both read many of the same books and discussed our feelings on them. We introduced each other to authors and books that had made a difference in each of our own lives. Literature, philosophy, physics, you name it.  No Book Genre was left unturned.
We had planned on getting together with our favorite books to trade, lend and copy for each other.  That never happened. Another opportunity to get to know a special human being even better… gone.
Ahh, do you remember The Good Old Days with Simon?

Lynn Miles was the oldest Earthling of the four. He was in his seventies, but you would not have known it.  I met Lynn years ago at various events around the Island, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s when my band played at an event he co-founded with others called Peacefest that I really got to know Lynn. Soon after I helped with some of the organization of Peacefest and did some admin and volunteering. Through Lynn, I was involved with other events as well. This is when he became a bit of a mentor.
I learned that Lynn was a real fighter for Taiwan Democracy back in the day – Back in the day is when fighting for democracy in Taiwan could get you killed. In fact he got kicked out of Taiwan for his work and moved to Japan so he could keep on being part of The Cause. He was awarded permanent residency in Taiwan by the government for his contributions. I read a book he co-wrote called ‘A Borrowed Voice’  and realized this man was the Real Deal.
We knew he was going to die at the beginning of this year when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. We had a few fundraisers for him as he could not work anymore.  Right up until he died, he still had that sparkle in his eye and a sense of strength. We weren’t sure when Lynn was going to pass on, it was all conjecture,  but we braced ourselves. A few days before we heard the news of him passing on, I had prepared questions and got my recording device ready so I could get one last interview with him.  That also never happened. He was gone before I knew it… and like the others, now I can only miss him and treasure the time I got to spend with him.
Lynn Miles also marks the end of an era.  Remember Lynn? Yeah those were The Good Old Days, eh?

*Everyone in our lives will eventually pass on… some sooner than others.  And all of us feel some amount of guilt as we recognize that we have lost opportunities of getting to know a Special Someone better – by having a laugh and a cry with them; by picking their brains and understanding what makes them tick.

Life is fleeting…. so frustratingly and painfully fleeting.

What are the lessons I’ve learned from this past Spring to Summer?
What are the epiphanies and realizations I’ve taken away from knowing these truly awesome people?

It all came to a hilt on the day I was supposed to be celebrating the day I was born:

*Give what we can of ourselves while we’re still Alive.
*Make People Happy.
*Stand up for Justice.
*Strive for Peace.
*Don’t take People for granted.
~and~
*Don’t miss opportunities to Love someone, Know someone and Care for someone…

…cause you just never know.

Everyone has a Legacy… think about what yours will be.

Joe Garside Lynn and Hannah Simon Mowforth2

The pictures above are Joe with his dog Loki, Lynn & Hannah, and Simon playing guitar.
Photo Credits coming soon.

***********************************************

You can Follow the Militant Hippi/Boston Paul on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BostonPaul
or
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MilitantHippi

You Might also like to read:

A few more Guidelines I’ve picked up as I forge through Life: https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/lifes-guidelines-2/

What is a Friend?  https://bostonpaul.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/who-what-is-a-friend-really/

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Published in: on August 17, 2015 at 6:03 PM  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Meanwhile, Dick Cheney, who’s literally (and metaphorically) had no functioning heart for 25+ years, just keeps rolling right along.


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