it was great to see everyone who made it out to mike duffy's memorial in san francisco last week. it was truly a special day.
mike's message was always a positive one, and from that we can draw the strength and inspiration needed to move forward: yes, we will mourn, but we will not mope. yes, we will shed a tear, but we will also crack a smile. and yes, we will say goodbye, but we will also keep mike's spirit with us forever.
agent tuttle summed it up well when he said in his euology that duffy is out there, somewhere, at the finish line cheering us on.
here's the poem included by mike's family in the program for the memorial service:
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!
for those of you who can make it, the San Francisco memorial for Michael Duffy is set for FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27 at 4pm.
the service will be held at St. Vincent de Paul Church:
2320 Green Street @ Steiner in Pacific Heights (map)
following the service, there will be a reception at an art gallery nearby called Villegas-Inagaki located at 2221 Filbert Street @ Fillmore from 5 until 7.
later that evening, a group of us will be congregating at a bar called Cosmos located at the corner of Chestnut and Fillmore in the Marina.
c'mon out if you can and please help spread the word...
[poem by peter handley, a friend of mike duffy's]
The mountain is high
and so are we
We walk through pastures green
'cross rivers of silver thread
and over rocks of shivering black
Together we advance
in friendship, in expectation, in celebration
The path is steep, but no-one slows,
The road winds on sheer turns, but no-one deviates
The sand and earth disintegrate beneath us, but
We hold on to each other
We emerge from the glorious tree-line
As warriors set to conquer
As leafy angels of light in the evening's pink
We run, and run, and run.
Inspired, perspired, in awe
We reach the fabulous peak
Never again to leave this awesome apex,
this perfect peak,
We rest on top of the World
to look in wonder at the lands below, the vast ocean
and each other
To gaze upon the festival of the shining heavens
To Transcend to the Stars.
Shine on, Mr. Duffy, shine on.
But he grew old --
This knight so bold --
And -- o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like El Dorado.
And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow --
"Shadow," said he,
"Where can it be --
This land of El Dorado?"
"Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied --
"If you seek for El Dorado."
[poem by Edgar Allen Poe, quoted by Mike Duffy in his high school yearbook]
it is with extreme sorrow and grief that i share the news that Mike Duffy, a very dear friend and a core member of the Bojon community, passed away last weekend after being caught in a massive avalanche while snowcat skiing in the Canadian Rockies.
Mike was part of a 14-person snowcat group that was back-country skiing/snowboarding outside of Nelson, British Columbia, in an area around Valhalla Provincial Park when the avalanche struck. the entire group was swept up by the slide, but miraculously everyone except for Mike survived.
Mike was caught beneath the tons of snow and debris that overtook the skiers, and despite the group's relentless efforts they were not able to find him. search and rescue teams valiantly spent the next few days combing the area while the rest of us prayed for a miracle, but our hopes were finally dashed when Mike's body was found six days after the incident.
and so, where do we go from here?
the reality of Duffy's passing has not nearly begun to sink in. the thing is, Duffy was just so full of life that it is impossible to fathom that he is no longer with us.
how can we possibly begin to make sense of this tragedy? i don't really have an answer for this one just yet, and i'm not sure i ever will.
one thing that is clear, however, is that there has been a tremendous outpouring of concern, sympathy and support since the news of this tragic event has spread. the deep-rooted emotion people have shown is a telling testament to how special Mike was.
Duff touched a lot of people, and he did so with such an uplifting disposition and refreshing demeanor that he often left an indelible mark. i can't tell you how many stories i've heard this past week about people who had only met Duffy once or twice and yet felt a strong kinship to him.
one of Duffy's favorite phrases was "all-world positive," and he used this characterization to describe people or circumstances that generated so much positive energy that it chased all negative vibes away. well, Duffy himself embodied the "all-world positive" concept, and it showed in everything he did.
i first met Duffy in grad school about 8 years ago, and i've had the priviledge of getting to know him really well over the last couple of years. he is truly one of the highest caliber individuals i have ever met, and i will always cherish the good times we shared. Mike radiated with life, and he brought the most out of those around him.
we packed a lot in over the last year, but that's how Duffy lived his life. he was all about "getting in the mix." and get in the mix we did about as often as we could swing it.
i had the pleasure of introducing Duffy to burning man this fall, and that trip was nothing short of epic. and nearly as fun as the trip itself was our preparation leading up to it. i remember the day we bought his Huffy bicycle like it was yesterday; we were both about as giddy as little kids at christmas. and his jumpsuit. boy did he love his jumpsuit.
Duffy knew how to have a good time, but he also had a serious side as well as a giving and caring side. in fact, he struck about as good a balance as one could hope for: strong intellect, high integrity, deep compassion... what more can i say. Duff was all that and more.
i went through some of the pictures i have from the last few years and made a photo gallery of some of the Duffy highlights. clearly, good times were a plenty.
my heart goes out to Mike's family. as difficult as this must be for them, i do hope that they can take some comfort in knowing about the tremendously positive impact Mike had on those around him. his spirit will surely live on in all of us.
is Mike in a better place now? i hope so, but what i really wish is that he were still right here with us.
Mike, you will be missed dearly, my friend. rest in peace.
MEMORIAL SERVICES: Two memorial services will be held for Mike, one on the east coast and one on the west coast.
On Wednesday, February 11th, a memorial service will be held for Mike in his hometown of Wellesley, Massachusetts. The service will be held at 10 am at St Paul Parish, on Washington Street (Rt 16) in Wellesley. A reception will follow which all are invited to attend.
Then on Friday, February 27th, there will be a memorial mass in San Francisco at St. Vincet de Paul Parish. More information regarding the exact timing of this ceremony and the location of the reception will follow.