Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fallen Angel


At the time of his death, George was my oldest living friend. During those 60-some years, I lived a fairly satisfying , generally easy and not seriously challenged life. George, on the other hand, met with many serious challenges throughout his life, not all of his own making, and most at which he failed. Yet, despite his neuroses, addictions, debaucheries, failures and the losses, progressively, of everyone and everything he loved and treasured, including the body he wrecked and ruined through his unwholesome appetites, he persisted to live beyond the span of years most of us hope to attain.

At times George seemed to revel in the fact of his bad health, but frequently, in the final years leading to his death, he complained about his frequent falling down. It is common for the elderly to fall down, which can lead to hospitalization and death. And George lived in San Francisco near the top of the very steep Grant Avenue so caution was his byword.

Very near the end of George’s life, my son Joe happened to be having an espresso on Columbus Avenue when George walked by. He greeted George and took this picture, but George didn’t stop to chat and quickly moved on. It appears that this is the last picture taken of George as he was found dead a few days later, on the floor beside the bed he had fallen from.

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