Rawle Farley, RIP

I am blessed to live in one of America’s coolest neighborhoods. Beautiful street, amazing people, blessedly diverse, extremely close knit. We have pancake breakfasts in the spring, an enormous Halloween in the fall, movie nights, dinner swaps. On and on.

One of the best guys here is Christopher John Farley, former Time writer who now works as an editor for the Wall Street Journal’s website. Chris can often be found in my driveway, shooting hoops with his son or watching his daughter scoot back and forth. He’s a smart, sharp, funny guy. A genuinely good friend.

I digress. A couple of days ago Chris’ father, Rawle, died at age 88. Chris wrote this tribute, which was beautiful and chilling. A quick snippet that blew me away:

In the new room, I held his hand and he stared past me into space. His breathing became shallow. I called the nurse, and she told me he didn’t need the oxygen mask anymore and then exited the room to leave us alone. I kissed my father on the forehead, told him I loved him and that he was a great dad, and then I couldn’t hear his breathing anymore. I put my ear to his chest–right on his bypass scar–and I couldn’t hear his heart beating. I put my hand on his head, where his hairline had receded, and it felt just as warm and moist as the top of my 8-year-old son’s head did when he was a newborn.

But my son was just starting life and my dad was leaving it.