Goodbye, Danny

Less than a year ago, I was eulogizing my friend Marty Gear in this space. Marty lived a full life, and changed the lives of many, many people for the better. He died quietly in his sleep. Up to the last, he did the things he loved with the people he loved. I miss Marty, and the shock of his death was wrenching. But I can’t look back with any regret on his behalf. As far as I can see, Marty made of life everything he could. His life was well lived.

Sitting in a meeting Tuesday, I learned via email that Danny, Marty’s son and my former classmate at Atholton High, was now dead as well. Danny took his own life, ending his journey early. I wasn’t close enough to Danny to comment on what kind of life he led, whether he was happy (I conclude he was not), or how many lives he touched. I know tidbits about the trials he endured, relayed to me by a concerned father. I know he had children, and I know from their public posts on Facebook that they loved their Dad very much. After 1980, Danny was mostly the son of a friend of mine; someone I thought well of because his Dad loved him so much, and was proud of him.

But, in 1980 Danny was a bright spot in my life, and I’ll never forget how that felt. The reason I say that might seem kinda silly, but little things mean a lot, especially to a 14-year-old who hasn’t confronted a lot of big things. Continue reading