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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Travel well, Barry

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My dear friend Barry left us Tuesday, yesterday, at noon, after a hard fought struggle with esophageal cancer. Special thanks and love to Barry's beautiful wife, Linda.

On February 18 I joined bloggers around the world and rang the bell for Barry's health, when he finished a round of chemotherapy. I shared something of what his exploration of life meant to me in that post.

Just five days ago, on July 16 Barry posted: Where Am I? Today I flew. Look for him now, resting on a wind current. Good-bye, kind, tender, smart, funny, brave story telling man. Thank you for sharing your life, right up to the end.  I will miss you, and I know your dog Lindsay will too.

Postscript: I just found this at the very bottom of Barry's blog, An Explorer's View of Life:
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

- T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
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58 comments:

C.M. Jackson said...

I am so sad and yet, happy that Barry is no longer in pain. I hope that he felt the sun on his face and was able to see Lindsay one more time before he went on his last flight--Godspeed Barry! Our prayers and thoughts are with your family-may you rest in peace-c

Lorenzo said...

Ruth, a beautiful message to send Barry off on his new explorer's flight. I am sure there will be more from many other bloggers as Barry's gentle, funny and generous spirit touched so very many of us.

VioletSky said...

When I read his post from the 16th, I had a catch in my throat...

Elisabeth said...

Thank you Ruth, for letting us know about Barry's last journey. I missed his last post. I've said my goodbyes there.

Barry was such a courageous man, and such an inspiration to us all.

Susan said...

A life well lived, is a life well remembered. I hope Barry had a peaceful flight. I'm so sorry to hear of his passing.

Reya Mellicker said...

I, too, was a blog friend of Barry's. My heart is heavy. Many condolences to you. We are all in mourning.

Marcie said...

Such a wonderful tribute. What a beautiful way to depart..

shoreacres said...

I have been so grateful to you for introducing me to Barry. I've followed his journey with deep appreciation for his spirit, and will miss him.

Thank you for your tribute.

Oliag said...

I first visited Barry's blog when you wrote of ringing the bell...such a beautiful tradition. It is sad to read of his journey since then...and amazing to read of how many friends he made through the internet...it is definitely bringing us closer together...May he and his family now find peace.

willow said...

It is truly a sad day, indeed. His warmth and sparkling wit will be sorely missed. Blessings and peace to his family.

Bonnie said...

There will forever be a gaping whole in the blogging community. May we console ourselves in the knowledge that he is no longer suffering. Think I will ring a bell today at 2:00 to celebrate the finest of the fine.

Bonnie said...

I meant 'hole', not 'whole' - but perhaps my unconscious was saying something more than my conscious mind could conjure.

deb said...

oh, Ruth , here to catch up and then this.
that's the message,no , to live , to connect , to love.
I remembering reading about the tribute to Barry awhile ago.. but I didn't know him. so offer condolences to you , and will to his family.

everyday is a gift.
I take it he was someone who knew and lived this.

California Girl said...

I remember the Tuesday and a number of bloggers ringing the bell. I remember reading your posts about Barry. Although I did not personally follow his work, people like him, so beloved and oft-quoted, never really die. Their work goes on forever and they leave their mark.

Pauline said...

It's always so hard to say goodbye. Ringing my bell for Barry again, wishing him godspeed...

Brian Miller said...

thank you for hte beautiful farewell...it was sad to see this, this morning...barry was one in a million....

Nancy said...

What a beautiful tribute, Ruth. Perfect in every way.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I am visiting those who knew and loved him . . . he will be so very much missed.

I keep thinking of Lindsay . . . how she must wonder, or maybe she knows, as our dogs can know or understand things we can't.

*sigh*

Jeanie said...

What a beautiful tribute. I remember your mention of Barry before. He was quite an inspiration. My heart goes out to his family.

cathyswatercolors said...

Oh I'm sorry Ruth. Cancer is the devil and the cure is worse.

Shari Sunday said...

I rang a bell in February along with you and I join you in recognizing the passing of an inspiring man. Thank you for visiting my new blog. You know that your opinion means a lot to me.

George said...

Sorry about the loss of your friend, Ruth. I didn't know Barry, but I am sure that I would have enjoyed him. Anyone who lives by that little quatrain from Eliot -- also a favorite of mine -- is my friend, either here or in the world to come.

Terresa said...

My heart is with you in this, flying with hope that Barry's family finds peace, somehow. (death is a hard master we all answer to at some point...)

RIP, Barry.

Babs-beetle said...

Ruth, I am so sorry. I read your previous post and Barry's blog. I wanted to ring the bell for him too, so I did it in my heart.

Ruth said...

C.M., he's free of that terrible cough, and labored breathing. His spirit remained positive. I wasn't ready for this, but I sure didn't want him to go on suffering.

Ruth said...

Oh, Lorenzo, I love how he set up his persona of goofy guy to Linda's smart, "straight man." I could read those scenarios all day. He always had a great punch or twist to round out his pieces.

Ruth said...

Oh, Violetski, he said he almost passed away two weeks before, and said, That life, what a kidder! And he was excited (in his positive way) about that hoist that got him into his wheel chair. Ohhhh god . . .

Ruth said...

Elisabeth, thank you for coming. I'm sorry it is on this occasion. What struck me about Barry from the first time I visited his blog, was how ordinary he was, in the best way. He was just like me, no better, no worse. He laughed at himself, and he was honest, and he just kept going, with all of us watching. He drew me in. He drew a lot of us in, just by being Barry, no frills, no ups, no extras. Barry Fraser. I'm sorry for your loss, Elisabeth.

Ruth said...

Susie, I like thinking of Barry gliding along, no stops and starts from that hacking cough that he suffered for months.

Ruth said...

Reya, I'm so sorry, it really hurts.

Remember how Barry was just celebrating Linda's retirement a month ago? He focused on her, and what an amazing person she was too. She had created a scrapbook of her career, for her own party! I think being their friends, or children, or siblings, must be a great treasure. As it is, we are incredibly blessed to be their friends, even at this distance.

Ruth said...

Marcie, he who is beautiful, departs beautifully. Recently, when friends brought muffins and dropped them off with Linda in the driveway, Barry wrote:

And I marvel at this woman beside me who has been holding back the very Forces of the Universe to care for me, profoundly moved by a simple act of thoughtful kindness.

Ruth said...

Linda, in June Barry posted photos of himself as a baby and a young boy. He must have had quite a time reflecting on his life. I'm glad you got to meet him too.

Ruth said...

Oliag, I first found Barry after An Explorer's View of Life received the honor of Blog of Note, in January 2009, I believe. I was taken with his writing from the first post I read. And he was a generous commenter and faithfully visited those who visited him.

Ruth said...

willow, it was such a treat the way Barry wrote dialogue. With nurses, with Linda, with Lindsay . . . or as Lindsay, and I believed him! No one writes like him. No one thinks like him. We've lost him. But he's here, he really is in my heart.

Ruth said...

Bonnie, somehow there is profound truth in that wholeness/hole you inadvertently expressed, that has been left in the blogging community by Barry's life, and his death.

Ruth said...

Deb, Barry could take a simple, ordinary scenario out of an envelope and develop it into a snapshot of truth, humor and tenderness like no one I know. I was never disappointed reading anything he wrote. But it's the man inside the words who rose and rose in my eyes, not just how he wrote.

Ruth said...

California Girl, it was clear even before Barry got sick that he had a following. Then when he was diagnosed with cancer last year, the devotion increased. He has quite a legacy here among his followers, and I guarantee you that he deserves every bit of it. It is a wonderful thing to behold, and I am deeply moved myself.

The Bug said...

I just bawled when I read the news this morning. Sigh.

rauf said...

There is no escape for any one Ruth. We all try to make the best of our short stay and guide the younger ones with what we learned and experienced. Perhaps Barry did the same.

nollyposh said...

~Beautiful~

Ruth said...

Pauline, that's good. I wonder if there might be a bell at his funeral/memorial service.

Ruth said...

Brian, the way he told the story, it felt like it was happening to me. The pills, the treatments, the doctors and nurses, the jabs with needles. "Barry, I don't think you have any veins in your forearm." Deadpan, and wonderful.

Ruth said...

Nancy, back in June, when the Palliative Care doctor told him that palliative care was not just preparation for death, it was also for pain management, I kept holding hope that he would recover. I needed him to recover.

god i miss him.

Ruth said...

Hello, Kathryn, welcome. I feel this is a wake, a small writing wake.

Yes, poor Lindsay. I have no doubt she is grieving, and will keep grieving, the loss of her friend. I'm sure she has already missed so much of what they had together, their long walks in the woods and on the bluff.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Jeanie. When he left for the hospital a month ago, around the time of Father's Day, he wrote: As for me, like the President of BP once famously said, I'm looking forward to getting my life back. And hope this week will do the trick.

He saw the humor in everything, but underneath it was always a profound wonder at the world.

Ruth said...

Yes, Cathy, I wish he hadn't had all those months of suffering. His lungs were encased with pockets of fluid that they had to drain in surgery, yet his breathing was still labored and his hacking cough continued. I am glad he is released from that.

Ruth said...

Shari, that means so much to me. To think, that this man, whom I never met, is being remembered by you secondhand, through your friendship with me. The power of this fellow keeps reverberating. What a legacy.

Ruth said...

George, there is no doubt in my mind that you and Barry would have been fast friends. That quote, I'm so glad I found it yesterday. Barry shared a lot of soul searching in the last year and some months since his diagnosis, very openly and sweetly. I think he found peace in his experience. What is important to me about Barry is that he wanted peace. The quote expresses the childlike wonder Barry always showed.

Ruth said...

It's a strange thing, Terresa, how we view death. Native Americans view it as a passage, not an end. Many cultures do. In time I will feel more philosophical about it all I guess. As Bonnie inadvertently said, there is a gaping whole in the blogging community after Barry's passing. I think that is the most profound statement, even though she meant hole. They are both true.

Ruth said...

Babs, I love thinking about our hearts tinkling soft bells for Barry. And for your dear friend, Pam. I am so very sorry. She looks like an amazing person. My love to you and Mo.

Ruth said...

Dana, I woke up at 2AM and couldn't sleep. Came out to my laptop, and there was Linda's post from Tuesday. It was a shock, I just wasn't preparing myself for this, I kept hoping he would recover. Responding to comments here has been good, to meditate on him, cry more, and feel the weight of him.

Ruth said...

rauf, I think so. Barry was the best kind of guide, by being, and doing. He shared the dialogues of his life, and I learned from him. I don't know if I can really assess how much he shaped me, it was a long, gradual shaping. Simple, gentle, kind, eyes open and wide, childlike in the best possible way. You would have loved him, rauf.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Nollyposh. Your verse for Barry is incredibly beautiful. It's not easy to hear this news, I was not prepared. You expressed it perfectly in your farewell post.

Deborah said...

Ruth, I am so sorry that you have lost a friend, obviously someone who meant a lot to many people. A hug in sympathy from me.

lesleyanne said...

I'm sorry about your dear friend, my mommy.
Love.

ds said...

I remember your bell-ringing post, but never got to know Barry. What a tremendous spirit. What a beautiful tribute. I am sorry for your--and Blogworld's--loss.

VaNeSsA said...

There is so much to say, and yet no words to adequately express my sorrow for your loss. May I just share a vision that has comforted me in my darkest moments. Please don't think me preachy, only sincere:
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4 NKJV

Anna said...

Its hard to believe Ruth, that people behind blogging are real people, and they will be gone one day, as it happened with Barry. Beautiful post and tribute, and thanks for letting us know. There are days I take time to pray, and pray for those bloggers who are going through difficult times. The virtual world is becoming a real world ... Anna :)