Patrick Lacey and I are pretty sure we are twins separated at birth. I can't tell you how dear this man is to me. So even though I didn't know his beloved brother James, my heart still aches with Patrick and his family as they continue to mourn James' sudden death in a car accident a year ago.
It's an awful thing to have so many friends lately suffering the awful, untimely deaths of young men in their families, but it is an honor to stand with them in their grief, and to offer what small comfort I can as it unfolds. As Patrick notes in his current post at his blog Loose Ends, he and I have a mutual friend, Ellen, whose brother Mark also recently died. When I was last in New York, writing on Patrick's couch in Harlem, Ellen asked all of her friends to celebrate her brother's birthday by eating an Entenmann's double chocolate donut. Patrick and his boyfriend Bill and I were only too happy to oblige, and on the theory that where one Entenmann's is good, a dozen is better, we clogged our arteries good and hard that weekend!
The Laceys are now coming up on the first anniversary of James' death, just days after what would have been his 42nd birthday today. Patrick has compiled a joyful, playful list of ways we might honor and remember James -- everything from eating salad to walking a dog to running an errand for a shut-in. And my favorite, kissing friends (you never have to ask me twice, right?!) I didn't know James personally, though I know the rest of the Laceys and feel as though I knew James from the exquisite posts Patrick shared on his blog in the months after James' death. And what I know is that James was one of those souls that lives on a different plane than the rest of us, that he had some things figured out that the rest of us can only hope to understand if we're blessed with a long life. I'm going to be trying to live a little more like James Lacey in the next few days, with Patrick's delightful suggestions as my guide -- as a way to honor James, of course, and to remember him, but mostly because trying to live more like James is probably as sure a path to a good life as any of us is likely to find.
Even if you don't know Patrick or James from Adam, I encourage you to read this lovely post, eat some salad, kiss a friend -- and hold the Laceys in the light in the days to come.