The only specific suggestion he ever made in the seven years I sought his counsel was, "Remember your dreams." And, in weekly visits over seven years, those dreams formed a wonderful and sometimes painful clarification of the difference between my far-too-adept brain and the soil beneath my feet.
John "Jack" Gallahue died Aug. 27, 2007, and I didn't find out about it until today. He was 76. Some small voice inside me wonders, "How is it possible that I didn't know that, that I didn't have some part in his death?" He was and remains so much a part of my life. As an ex-Jesuit turned psychologist, Jack helped put me on the feet I needed to stand on ... whether in Zen or any other venue.
Not only didn't I know that Jack had died, but I found out only after calling his old phone number, getting his widow's voice on an answering machine, and leaving a message suggesting that if he were available, I would be down in New York tomorrow and perhaps he would like to have a cup of coffee. When I got no call in return, I consulted Google, and there it was. How could I not-know? Sure there were kids and work and the distance between here and New York and a hundred other ordinary reasons. But still ....
Jack and Kyudo Nakagawa Roshi are the two men who stand out in my mind and heart as males who fed me good food. Not always as tasty as I might have wanted, but good, nourishing food. Kyudo died Jan. 29, 2007, and again I was not a party to it. By my reckoning, he would have been 84.
I loved both these men and had I been on hand, I might have said so, although I don't like the idea of burdening or diverting a dying person with my "love." My heart might break, but still, this is their time and I would prefer to wish them what they wished. Would I have the courage for that? I don't know and now will never know.
All I can think of is...
As they loved, so are they beloved.