I had known him since first grade. His life and mine took very different trajectories, intersecting most significantly in late adolescence and late middle age. We lived on opposite coasts. We kept up with each other’s lives through the many close friends we had in common. He made me laugh more than anyone I’ve ever known. He came back into my life when laughter was a sorely needed commodity.
I grieve for his widow and family and for his many friends. But I grieve most for the girl who, in his words and memory, was beautiful, smart and brave; mourn for the person he thought I was: kind, unafraid and strong. RIP, Billy.