When I was younger, death was just a concept; a state of being that other people sometimes experienced. It was as though I believed that those closest to me were untouchable; living just beyond the reaches of Death’s grubby fingers.
Alas, the reality of life came crashing down five days ago when the world lost the most wonderful man. This was a man who set an example for all of us when it came to loving and living without abandon and was famously known to those closest to him as, Dampa.
Dampa was so many things to so many people but for me he left behind a legacy of love and of kindness. Dampa was a man who loved so hard and was so loved by everyone he had the opportunity to wrap up in a giant bear hug or ambush with a big ‘ol smacker, right on the lips. He laughed big, he lived big, and never forgot to tell our Damma–the love of his life, his sons and daughters in-law, and his grandkids just how proud of them he was.
We’ve always been a close bunch and Damma and Dampa are the glue that have held the relationships together. Though we are spread out among the far reaches of the United States, and though we span many ages, you could always count on Dampa for news on the goings-on around the Florida Simses or the Oregon Simses or the Chicago Simses or the Virginia Simses, heck even the recent Colorado Sims transplants. He would call all of us a few times a month to hear about what’s going on in our lives, share an anecdote or two, and encourage us to check in on our cousins and aunts and uncles because it mattered that we loved each other and it mattered most that he shared in that love.
I love you to the moon and back, Dampa. Thanks for teaching me to always be kind and to love until it hurts. Enjoy the view from up above.