On Sunday, December 15th, my dear friend of 25 years… William Berg, died suddenly of a heart attack. I wrote about William in 2011; Choosing Your Family. The hardest part has been accepting his death but I had a breakthrough a few nights ago, when I began writing William the following letter:
First off, what the hell dude? When we hung out with you last week, we had no idea it would be our last time. Eli and feel so lucky that we got some quality time with you, something we hadn’t done in a very long time.
Katie and the boys have been on my mind, but my heart has found solace as I witness your family, friends and community pull together to take care of them. My first instinct was drive down to help Katie with the boys, which I am prepared to do when needed. But once I saw that Katie has lots of support at the moment, my mind turned to you.
I imagine you’re having to adjust to your new circumstance. You are probably pretty mad. When I first heard you had died, I was angry too. I literally yelled out, “What the fuck?”
I imagine you standing at the portal of the dimension next door, in limbo, at the edge of the playa in your kilt, the smell of propane, fire and dust in the air, with beats coming from the Surly Bird off in the distance. The draw to cross over must be immense.
I also know you have an insane work ethic to care for your family so I am pretty sure that you will be sticking around for quite a while. I’m sure your presence is hovering around your family right now.
I do enjoy seeing you around, in what I call “Berg droppings”. We think of you whenever we use the stove you gave us, or the Surly Camp swag all over our house, the French antique pot rack hanging in our kitchen and the 100-year old French gate keys I love so much. You are here.
I am oh-so grateful for the 25-years of adventures I’ve had with you; closing down the Union Hotel, quality time with Mooch, getting married at your house, Gordo runs to Albany, making sashimi in Sayulita, eating stinky Pont l’Eveque cheese in Normandy, giggling uncontrollably at the Rodin museum in Paris, cooking risotto in Amsterdam, giving birth to Dexter with you as my doula, Dexter’s first burn when he was your wingman, cruising with you on the Surly Bird until 5:00 am, and being escorted to Medical to get stitches on my chin after the sliding down off an art car. I have even forgiven you for sneaking duck sausage into the Ceasaer salad that time. All good times.
Thank you for being my big brother, for stepping up whenever I needed you, for holding me still when my marriage ended, for every favor you’ve ever done for me and for letting me be a part of your family. I’m so glad you got to see Dexter grow up, as Eli and I will enjoy seeing your boys grow up. We intend to be around for Katie and the boys, in any way we can.
I take comfort that you died with a full heart, with the love your wife, true love and best friend Katie, and your boys Quinn, Remy and Soren. You died doing what you loved, surrounded by the French antiques you love so much. I have no doubt that your soul is in every piece. We hope to buy one of your club chairs, so we can have another piece of you in our home.
I can’t say I’ll miss all your butt-dial phone calls, but if you can find a way to reach me in my dreams, that would be awesome. I know we will meet again in some other dimension, probably a dusty one… so I look forward to that sunrise set with you.