The gypsy bumped into town on his wagon. He set up camp and built his fire. A few wandering from town sat down and shared his fire. They sang and danced and lept with the flames until only embers remained. Morning dawned. He was gone. A girl awoke and danced away singing the gypsy's song.
Da Count is about being glad for what you've got instead of bemoaning what you haven't got. But first I have to tell you what is missing. My friend, Gypsy, would have been 45 this week. He's not with us any more since lung cancer took him almost 2 years ago. I still miss him. I miss his wicked sense of humor and his kindness. I miss hearing him talk about his sisters and his children, the people he loved most in life. I miss the twinkle in his eyes and his keen mind. I miss his tremendous creativity. I miss the way he encouraged everyone around him even when he was going through trials that would make lesser men retreat into a shell of self pity. I miss his gentle, selfless ways.
In spite of those virtues he could really get down on himself. 'I never finished high school. (You got your GED and then went to college. You have a brilliant mind, you were a confused teenager) My marriage failed. (It's hard to succeed when the other one doesn't want to. You tried.) I just don't know how to help my son sometimes. (His boy has cerebral palsy. You love that boy so powerfully you help him shine so others can see how marvelous he is.).' His telecom job was in peril of being downsized before his diagnosis and afterwards he was sure he'd be cut loose quickly, leaving him without any insurance. They kept him on until HE said he couldn't work. On the day he left, 300 friends, family members, and co-workers gathered together for his benefit to celebrate and encourage him. He said to me later, 'Well, cancer sucks but without it I don't think I would have known that I made much difference in the lives of so many people. I just never imagined people would care about a guy who (insert his list of perceived failings).' In the midst of his death sentence he found something to count and found out how beloved he was.
So this week, though his time here was far too short, I'm counting that he was here at all and the memories I have. Though I still tear up on his birthday, I am counting that I can smile and laugh a little more for his birthday this year than I could last year because of who he was.