In Memory of My Friend Richard , by Joe Bailey
Best friend is a term reserved for those few people we have in our lives that we know will always love us unconditionally, will always listen to us, can laugh with us and at us with respect and love, will tell you the truth even when you don’t want to hear it, and you feel more love from them for taking the risk, and are proud to call them your friend.
Richard was one of those rare best friends to me and although I am sad beyond any sadness I have ever felt for a loss, I am reminded of my delights for having Richard in my life each time a pang of sadness comes. As Kahil Gibran once wrote:
When you are sorrowful
Look again in your HEART
And you shall see that in truth
You are weeping for that
Which has been your DELIGHT
These are some of the many delights that Richard left me that my sadness so wonderfully reminds me of. Above all, I delight in Richard’s enormous kindness.
I have never met a man who so freely expressed love to me, to his wife Kris, his daughters Jazzie and Kenna, to his parents Don and Barbara, his sisters Kathy and Anna, to his dog, to a reader of his books, to a total stranger, to one of his “little brothers” and towards the whole of humanity. Richard was always more interested in you than in wanting to talk about his life (though his life was extremely interesting and full of accomplishments and good news). You were always the center of his universe and felt like he cared more about you than anyone. Everyone who knew him felt this way.
Richard was a busy man so even though we didn’t talk often, he left amazing marathon voicemails. Sometimes he had to leave two or three in a row because the allotted time would run out with just one. I would save my messages from Richard for a while afterward just to feel the immense love and presence that was captured in that recording. As one friend of his put it, “his messages were like being flooded with little fluttering hearts all over the room.” I wish I had saved his last voice message to me.
I delight in Richard’s deep compassion. We confided in each other during our difficult times in life. He was always so understanding and caring, a great listener but he also was able to ask me for help and he listened better than anyone I know. He was a great learner and so open to what wisdom anyone had to share. He genuinely felt for people.
I delight in Richard’s joy for life. We shared many joys—writing a book together (Slowing Down to the Speed of Life), skiing in the mountains, fishing at my cabin, going for a run together, kayaking, walking at Sea Ranch on the ocean, telling Ole and Lena jokes over and over and laughing till our sides hurt. When we wrote our book together it was not work, it was easy and pure joy. I delight in our times we had together doing all these things.
I delight in remembering Richard work, whether it was writing at light speed, cleaning the kitchen, making a meal—he was like a “white tornado”. When we stayed together he would have the place totally cleaned up before I was even awake.
Kindness, generosity, compassion and genuine caring for others pretty much sum up Richard’s life. Richard, I delight in you, I guess that’s why I am so sad today. I love you.
With deepest love and gratitude for an inspired life,
~Joe Bailey, Co-author
and one of Richard's many best friends