Bruce is dying. I’ve never met or spoken to Bruce and didn't even know of his existence until December 23rd.
We both belong to a website where class members can keep in touch with each other. We attended a San Gabriel Valley high school and ours was a giant class of nearly 500 students. It was easy to miss knowing someone. He knew me but was too shy to speak with me. Then we graduated and went off to make our way in the world.
Fast forward fifty-five years. Bruce is no longer shy. He visited my profile, and I responded even though I had no idea who he was. I just felt the pull to respond and we started writing and texting.
He began telling me a bit about his life. His childhood included two years in foster care with a kind couple who bought him a guitar for Christmas. He taught himself the guitar and began playing bass in local bands. Eventually, he played with famous rock bands and sent me videos of him on stage. Music was and still is his life.
As we wrote, we discovered that our lives were different versions of the same life, not in the details but in general. Our similarities were astounding. I thought we were likely from the same spiritual tribe.
On January 4th, our conversation shifted to more immediate issues. Bruce got tested for Covid. It was positive. He said, “Symptoms are similar to a cross between strep throat and the flu. I will survive. I’m tougher than a two-dollar steak. I hear the first few days are the worst. Had chills last night, but they went away. I would really like to visit South Dakota and get some dirt for my dirt collection. I have dirt from around the world. Mostly historical places.”
The symptoms did not go away. In his words, “I’m coughing up things that belong in an alien movie.” We started talking about ways to beat this thing. On January 12th, he went to the emergency room. He stayed there for three days. No rooms were available anywhere. His condition advanced, and he received Remdesivir and was having substantial side effects.
We began texting candidly with each other about death and dying. When he had no energy for words, he sent music to express his feelings like Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die). We texted about going home. Not home in this world. We chatted about looking for truth, love and asking what his options were when he arrived home.
Then he sent me another song, The Rain, The Park and Other Things (live) by The Cowsills. It was his favorite song to play right before going on stage. He knew he was dying and sent the next song/video of What is Life by George Harrison. He loved the girl in yellow doing clunky professional ballet in the woods. He liked happy music.
Two days ago, I texted, “If you are leaving, I’m honored to have spent this time with you.” Then I texted, “I will find you on the other side when I leave this world.”
“I will look for you too.”
“It’s all good, Bruce. We will be just our souls unencumbered by all the illusion of this world.”
Then he sent My Sweet Lord by George Harrison.” “Here you go,” he texted.
Today, three weeks later he is still here. Not out of his hospital bed yet though. Next step–sit in a wheel for an hour. I think he can kick this thing.
What I got from this—head into truth while still in this world. There you will find love. When truth moves, it moves as love.
(The photo above is a postcard my mother saved of the San Gabriel Valley in the early 60's just thirty miles east of L.A.)
Peace & Love,
Nothing I write is meant as personal advice, so please be discerning. Do not believe anything I write without first seeing if it is true for you. If it is, fine. If it isn’t, put it aside.