Gary saves the day again… 10:08p 11may, 2020

That’s what the subject line read.
“Gary saves the day again…”
An email from T**, a client of my husband’s who I haven’t heard from in a year, if not more.

Thinking it might be spam, (the all-lowercase addressee and the name of my dead husband in the subject line seeming strange but somehow remembered) I was only slightly distracted from watching the new season of “Dead To Me”, ironically enough. coming down off my necessarily extreme cannabis high of earlier, however, and thinking about what I wanted to smoke next while waiting to hear back from several friends, I opened the email.

It said, (and this is where I am stopping, having read beginning of the email, gasping for breath and not wanting to look any further, not yet, not before I refilled my lovely pipe and repaired to the privacy of my parked, darkened car where I could smoke and sob in peace) in part (and here, I should tell you, I am pausing to take an enormous hit of medication. Perhaps five or six. I brought refills. Who can know for sure?):


One of the core components of (our company) which Gary designed stopped working today after the Government changed something on their website.  Back in the good-old-days I would have called Gary in a panic, he would have calmed me down and quickly resolved the issue.  Now I have to reverse engineer his work in a language of which I am only somewhat familiar. 

You got some comfort from seeing his writings last time I e-mailed you, so I thought I would share how he saved the day today.  While attempting to understand what he wrote, I looked through his copious notes and discovered that he described in great detail how he solved this problem last time.  This allowed me to bite a little piece of code that he wrote years ago and use it to fix everything.  If he hadn’t documented everything so well, I would be spending the next few days trying to figure out what he did while customers complained. 

Man I still miss that guy. 

Hope you and the kitties are well.  N** and I finally closed on a house after living in a crappy apartment for ** years, so now we get to live like adults.  How are things with you?

Below is boring shop talk, but it reminded me of how much I liked working with Gary and how good he was at his job.


(So here is where I am now, sitting in my car, about to read words from my husband from years ago which somehow saved the day today for someone’s company. Eyes wide and full of tears, of missing and knowing how much of a huge void he left.)

a screenshot of the kind of zealous documentation Gary adhered to.

How do I explain that?
How do I explain how seeing what looks otherwise like gibberish I know is tinged with his particular flavor his
Stink (he used to say “I like your stink”, a pretty aggressively passive-aggressive way of saying something nice, like he had Calvin as an interlocutor)

Knowing that code that he wrote notes for six years ago with no idea of the future
(especially not that he wouldn’t be in it)
would save the life of someone’s company today.
That that person chose to pay that forward by remembering how much it comforted me the last time this happened and to let me know again.
save my life, today.
Gary did indeed save the day again.

to me this is what it means by
“may his memory be a blessing”
there is so much pain
so much brokenness in his life, my life
our life.
I got shoved into the lessons I am learning
everything all at once
a whirlpool of chaos
nothing to do but be stuck
choosing to pick through the debris and only take forward what shines
what will shine with enough patience
taking forward the joys, the lessons.
I wouldn’t be here but for him.
In every single way.

may his memory be a blessing.

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