Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm blessed to have had a lot of good friends in Seattle, and I'm doubly blessed that Rickey Wright was one of them. Rickey passed away this afternoon at 4:31. Last week he'd had a stroke--apparently more than one, all small, over a period of time--and went to the hospital for treatment. He had surgery and underwent another stroke on the table; he spent most of his final week in a coma. Our friend Rachel and I visited him yesterday. It was not as awful as I'd feared it might be: he still looked like himself, which was encouraging even if everyone knew he wasn't going to make it. It's hard not to second-guess how much of this I should be saying, mainly because Rickey was the kind of person who deserves whatever honor you can give him, especially in passing. I've seldom known a kinder person, or a better listener, or anyone more enthusiastic about music or film or whatever--and even better, his enthusiasm was catching. When I'm excited about something I yell without meaning to, or just become obnoxious about it. Rickey never did that. He didn't have to. He was also an effortless people person; everyone was welcome to him. He didn't have a snobbish bone in his body. We had sort of drifted into not going out for drinks as often as we had been, which is something I regret, though not nearly so much as I do that he's gone, only in his mid-40s, one of the sweetest men I know, a very funny guy, the fucking best.