When I got to the Memorial service yesterday, I opened the door to the already crowded lobby. An older gentleman wearing a yarmulke asked who I was. I told him I was a friend of Martin's. He introduced himself as Marty's father Larry, and asked if I knew Martin in real life or just cyperspace, I told him I'd hung out with Martin several times.
He then leaned toward me and asked if I would like to see Martin. I might have said no, but I sensed this man was offering me a gift that was valuable him.
So I said "Yes, of course". He took me by the hand, led me back into some corridors, into the wood-paneled room off the chapel where the casket was placed. He asked the attendant to raise the lid one last time. He did so, pulled back some of the pure white shroud around Martin, and I was looking at a friend one last time.
Martin looked beautiful, that's the only word I can use. His father said: "I'm done crying, I'm done praying, I've cried all I can."
I told Larry that Martin looked beautiful, he said "Well, you know he had 2 embolisms, so now he's with his uncle. What a talent, what a writer, what a blogger!" I could only agree.
The rest of the service was poignant, sometimes people laughed at a fun memory, sometimes they cried. Martin's step sister spoke lovingly, as did his sister Leah, who sang a'cappella one of Martin's favorite songs. Martin's mother also spoke. The memorial ended with the 23rd Psalm and The Kaddish prayer.
About 2 years ago, someone I knew only from a political activist email list posted that he was moving from DC to L.A. due to work, and asked for any list members in L.A. to get back to him, discuss neighborhoods and other issues. While he had visited L.A. many times, and his father lived in the San Fernando Valley, he wasn't really aware of the micro-regions and neighborhoods, as well as traffic patterns & commuting. In short, he was asking for help in finding a place to stay.
I, and several other local list members responded, and shortly I felt like I had a great new friend. And early on in 2009, after Martin made a harrowing drive across the US from DC to L.A., we actually met face to face at a Brave New Films meet-up for Tom Geoghegen, who was running for the IL-5 House seat. We listened to Tom, we chatted, talked about his epic trip through awful winter weather conditions, his overnight stops in towns that made Bates Motel seem cool, and really got along.
We stayed in touch, debated, argued politely, and I pointed out his one obvious flaw, that he wasn't a Mac guy. But he was a great guy.
If you've noted the use of the past tense of the verb "be", that's because Martin Bosworth did pass yesterday, suddenly. He had had health issues, had been hospitalized last year, but just Monday night we exchanged messages on Twitter, just like good friends do. About comic book characters, of all things.
His sister posted on his Facebook page:
Hello, everyone. I could only wish this was Martin posting, that this was some type of over the top joke. I am his sister Leah. He gave me all his account information and such when he first was feeling ill. I want so badly for a TARDIS to appear and take us all back to a point in time where things could play out differently.
Shouldacouldawoulda and all that. I do know that He, his life, love, and work lives on through the Internet and through the lives of all that he has touched. Please continue to post your thoughts and wishes here. He would want donations in lieu of anything else to go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, OneLegacy.org, your local Humane Society, or whatever cause you know that he would stand for. Thank you for being his friends and allies. Martin, I love you!!!
At the end of the day, the WHY of it doesn't matter. All that counts is that Martin is gone. He left a challenge for all progressives: stand up straight for what we espouse, call BS when it's appropriate, work for a better tomorrow.
So Martin, my friend, may you eternally have a better tomorrow.
2nd update: Corrected cause of death to embolism, not aneurysm. Not that it really matters.