Last Thursday, May 17, in the wee hours of the morning, a pal passed — Patrick Finneran.
Long time gay activist, fellow zen student, softball enthusiast. Dharma Rain Zen Center, where we both practice, did him a big solid in letting him spend his final hospice days with them.
I saw him briefly the previous Sunday afternoon as he was wheeled out for a drive in the beautiful sun and he could still talk. His skin was waxy and taught over his frail body and his eyes yellow from the obvious liver failure due to liver cancer. He spoke of his gratitude and how the love everyone had in caring for him was beyond his belief. I hugged him, kissed his cheek, and said I’d visit later that week.
I was grateful, when word came a couple of days later he was on his last day or so and lost the ability to swallow and talk, that i could sit with him toward the end.
Patrick was always curious & inquisitive; like myself, he tended to love to talk and analyze everything from many points of view, sometimes to death. He was exceedingly chatty (in the most friendly way). Most of all, he always had a bright, fae/leprechaun-like smile & spirit. In buddhism, they speak of Mudita — Sympathetic Joy. In his bright way, Patrick subtly embodied this for all of us.
Now i like to think that energy is released out to the universe, and is now part of all of us. That’s Patrick, influencing a lighter touch and a mischievous, joyful smile in all of us, saying in the back of our minds, “Hey, doll.”
And wouldn’t that be something?