Friday, August 16, 2013

A Requiem for Atticus

Only you and I can help the sun to rise each coming morning.  If we don't it may drench itself out in sorrow ~ Camus
What did he mean by this?  He was a complex man, was Albert Camus.  But - oh - what a self-absorbed statement was that?  Rest assured, the sun will surely rise and surely set without our assistance and life will proceed on its own path and at its own pace.  Life and time move forward with or without us.  It will press on without my Atticus, although those of us who knew and loved him will wonder why the world has not stopped to take notice at this passing of quiet greatness.

My Atticus was an attorney named Talbird Reeve Sams.  He embodied all the noble qualities that Harper Lee infused in Atticus Finch - my favorite character in all literature. He was tall, and slender, and he spoke the truth with a soft yet deep honeyed Southern accent.  He was a man who could be trusted with his word, with a handshake.  He could be trusted to be on the right side of every moral argument.  Steadfast and unshaken as he followed his conscience.  Simply put, he was a gentleman...a gentle man. Reeve loved the law; he loved practicing the law.  He was better than good at it; he excelled.

We were friends for over 40 years.  This year brought the end of another very long-term friendship over a misunderstanding.  But Reeve never misunderstood anything; he never judged.  He saw me for the person I was (am) and loved me nevertheless.

I am sad; I am happy; I am fortunate; I am unfortunate.  The privilege of not only knowing him, but of being his friend, is tempered by the knowledge that I now know the difference between a world in which he lived and breathed and one without him in it.  It is much less painful to never have loved - to which I say run toward the pain and embrace it and hold tight to it and thank Heaven for it whenever you can.

Goodbye my friend.  Godspeed.