a kaddish for Randy — guest post from Tim Lavalli

A good friend died this week. He took his own life. We are all shocked and saddened by his passing and we are all asking ourselves – why? Which is to say, we are having the normal human reaction to such an unnecessary loss.

I am not going to praise him here, you did not know him. For those who did, we will find the time and place to share our memories. Today I do something in his honor.

This kaddish is in memory of our lost friend.

If you read this website and you have my phone number then I ask should you ever feel so lost, so alone that you consider leaving us, I beg you to use that number and call me. If you read this and you don’t have my phone number then I ask you to call that one special person today; the one who you talk to when times are darkest. Call them today and agree that should you ever walk too close to the edge, you will reach out to them. You must make this promise in the light of day, when you are well and fine. Truly promise you will cry out past the darkness. Make that promise, make it today.

I know one response to suicide is to believe that in these cases we really couldn’t have done anything. We are just self-flagellating when there is nothing else to do but cry. I will strongly suggest that doesn’t matter; because sometimes, even just one time, we can help someone step back from the brink, but only if they will reach out. That is why we make the promise in the green fields, so we might remember them in the parched, desolate and dry times.

My dear friend called me when he brushed against his demons and we would look at the world in ways only two friends in trusted conversation could, I believe it helped. This time he didn’t call and all of us are left to ask – why.

Rest in Peace Randy, we will miss you for a long, long time.  — Tim Lavalli

About mira

Mira Z. Amiras is Professor of Comparative Religious Studies and founder of the Middle East Studies Program at San Jose State University. She is past-president of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness, and has served on the Executive Council of the American Anthropological Association. She is co-founder, with Ovid Jacob, of Beit Malkhut, a study group in Jewish sacred text. She's most attached to the creatures of her body and her household — first and foremost, her kids, of course: Michael and Rayna — and then the other folks large and small of various species, including Roshi and Vlad, a whole lot of hummingbirds, the old parrot who lives next door, and a beautiful garden that does what it will.
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