Tonight I attended the funeral of a friend of a friend, William Lamb. Affectionately known as Uncle Bill, I knew Bill and his partner, Tony, through my very dear friend, Steve. Bill and Tony were always over Steve’s house for parties and holidays. In fact, I invited Bill and Tony to my Christmas party last year, which they happily attended. Bill wore his huge white fur coat and everyone got quite a kick out of it. I remember him outside, smoking a ciggarette, and we were joking that we were afraid someone might mistake him for a polar bear and shoot him.
Bill was a hairdresser for 40 some years. He recently married his life partner Tony. Bill was quite a looker in his day and he enjoyed wearing his jewlery and his shirts buttoned down to his navel. (He wore bling before it was called bling.) I say this lovingly but he was somewhat of a stereotype: The handsome and flamboyant, gay hairdresser. But Bill’s life was anything but stereotypical.
When I arrived at the funeral home, the place was packed with family and friends. Bill was known by many in this area and loved by all. It started me thinking how just one life can affect so many others. Now don’t get me wrong, Uncle Bill was no saint. He drank too much; flirted too much; and always wanted to be the center of attention. But he was also the genuine article who had touched so many livesMy heart goes out to Tony, Bill’s partner. Always overshadowed by Bill, Tony was happy to play second fiddle to his vivacious partner. While Bill’s accident was sudden, he hung in there for almost 2 weeks. What happened was the Monday before Christmas Bill slipped and fell down the stairs to his living room, breaking 3 ribs and causing a concussion. The hemorrhaging caused severe brain damage and Bill finally succumbed on Friday, Jan. 2.
Bill was 64 years old. You know, we never really know how long our stay on this planet is meant to be. It sure hit home as I stood there, looking at the pictures of Bill’s past and then back at Bill in his casket. I thought of the many people in my life who are now gone and how they lived their lives. Bill may have lived a full life, but I think he expected to live it quite longer. I think most of us do.