Last night Angus MacEachern called me. I knew it was not good news. His father and my friend, Duncan had gone to some Boston hospital for a last chance stem cell treatment to kill the lymphoma that had dogged him for a couple of years. Duncan did not survive. The stem cells took, but the radiation that followed was too much apparently. It does not matter how or why. Duncan did not make it home.
For those of us who are designated survivors, each individual must go through a unique personal experience in order to deal with the loss of a friend or loved one. I was cool on the phone with Angus, but as I type right now, I can barely see the keypad. Feelings of loss, guilt and pure sorrow blend into a moment of extreme personal pain.
I met Duncan when he first came to the area fresh from college in 1972 to teach the Sanford area youth the basics of using tools to make things. He was a shop teacher and our neighbor for 36 years. Duncan was a gentle man. Duncan was a good man. A man I often admired for his total lack of bullshit. A dependable, concerned, and committed family man.
He was meticulous and tenacious in everything he attempted. From building his own home to learning how to play the bag pipes as an adult. When he started to practice his piping, he would stand outside in his yard and lay into it. If you heard him at first, you can understand why he was outside and not inside. He would often apologize to me for his racket. And I would always say it was not problem. Because it was never an issue for us here up the road. His piping was music to my ears and I got the chance to follow his progression from rookie to experienced. I would often stop what I was doing outside and just listen to the sounds of his pipes as they drifted up my way. I would think of ancestors who might have done the same thing. Duncan kept me aware of our mutual ancestral background.
I won't do the obvious and expound on all the regrets I have now regarding Duncan. We were very good friends and I will miss him. Any regrets at this point would do neither of us any good. And knowing Duncan, he would probably think I was being stupid for having regrets. Just know that he did affect my life and his presence and his pipes will be missed here at 407 Sam Page Road.
Rest in Peace good friend.