Today was a very sad day. l attended thefuneral of a man who took his own life. l heard about it on the radio, except that at the time of the broadcast l did not know it was him. l remember rolling over in bed, relishing the fact that l did not need to get up, and did not think further about the man found in the river. lt is amazing how dispassionate l can be at 6am. l later found out that the floating man had a name. Furthermore, l had shared meals with him. l remember his 40th, the smooth cool of his cheek as he greeted me with a kiss at my sister-in-law's 30th. lt turned out to be the last time l saw him, just before Christmas 2005.
He was an man with a heart for those who were in need. The common thread during the funeral stories was the richness of his generosity, to his friends, family, and the beneficiaries of his charity. l remember his genuine interest in the lives of others, tuning his guitar, and enjoying meals with him. l did not know him well, but enough to begin to comprehend the incredible loss his family and friends must feel. Depression overthe last few months or so robbed him of his life.
l can't shake the image of him in the river. l can't begin to imagine how life became so black for him that it seemed preferable to slip away in the water.
l don't know if he knew God. How do l pray? The words of The Lord's Prayer almost undid me at the funeral. As l write, these words come to me:
''The Lord is gracious and compassionate. Slow to anger, and rich in love.''