>Dear Jon

>A long-time friend of mine – almost 30 years! – died unexpectedly last week. He was in a coma at the end and I got to spend time with him in the hospice. I was alone there and I knew it was the last time that I would see him. It was disorienting to see Jon lying there but also powerful. In this society we are all too often kept from the deaths of the people we share our lives with – by distance, by accident, by queasiness. Yet I wouldn’t have been able to honor Jon’s life in the same way if I hadn’t been close to his death. I wouldn’t have felt it.

We were angry, energetic, trouble-making teenagers together. When we were about seventeen, we broke into every single private school on the East Side of Providence. Partially this was because we resented rich kids, but mostly because it was convenient. Later we found out that the schools had put out a bounty on us. Jon and I were delighted.