It has been six months since his death, and I don't think of the tragedy very often. I follow the emails on the egroup, anxiously waiting along with many others to hear an update on the trial. I grieve for the sweet, funny man who was a friend and common sight to so many of us in the Austin community. I regret the times I didn't stop by to say hello, when he was working at Waterloo Icehouse and Frank n' Angies and would always ask me to stop in. I can only hope that a few of the people whose lives he touched took to heart the words I spoke on the last day we ever saw his face.
Joel never gave me a hard time for being a person of too many words. These are the words in my life I have weighed the most.
In the last few weeks, I have been constantly reminded of the connectedness of life and events. The other night I heard one of his closest friends, Joel Gowdy, say "for Joel to be there at that exact moment, at that exact location." I asked myself that same question for more than one reason - had I not been there at the hospital to visit another dear friend, I may not have been fortunate to have known about HJ or to see him one last time. Had I not been there at that moment, I would not be here to receive and lend support to his family and friends, and to give you the comfort of knowing that he did not suffer.
We may not know each other, but we are obviously connected through Joel. When I first moved here from Houston ten years ago, I wanted to get away from the Big City Mentality. I made a promise to myself that I would learn to say hello and meet those of you I would often see out in the scene. Joel was a constant reminder of that promise, because it was impossible to ever get by Joel without a hug or a kiss, a laugh or a smile. He was also one of the first few to get away with calling me "Debbie Snackcakes". I hear from his siblings it could have been worse!
Joel loved the cheese, and for that reason I would like to share this wish:
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough 'Hellos' to get you through the final 'Goodbye'.
My friends and loved ones, I wish you ENOUGH!!!
They say, "It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire lifetime to forget them."
Joel will continue to be with us, not only in the fortunate strangers who will have a second chance of life due to his generosity, but in the hearts of everyone here. In his memory, I must ask:
Please make the time, if not today, but in the near future, to get to know more of the people in this room. Lend a sympathetic ear, use a supportive shoulder, console one another. And when asked what are five things that you cannot live without, think of these, which I feel Joel would have shared -
a generous heart,
Thank you to Joel's family for sharing their 'Joey', and Thank you, Joel. Rock in Peace.