the blog of Seldom Seen Photography

Death of a Friend

GaryThis is not a post I wanted to write, but it is one I must. Last week, I was, in fact, preparing another post, but then death intruded into my life. My blog is supposedly about photography, yet here I am writing about death. Most Americans don’t like to talk or even think about death. Yet death is a part of life. And, like most photographers, most of my photography is about life – places I’ve been, people I’ve met, the sharing of scenes that enrich my life. So, here I am, writing about the one inevitable part of life that we all must face – death.

This post is not one I wanted to write. It has been difficult putting these words on “paper.” It’s difficult to share. I’ve procrastinated, refusing to believe, searching my feelings for truth, for a reason. I’ve procrastinated, because by not putting this down on paper, somehow it cannot be real, because maybe it is just a dream. But it is real, and I cannot procrastinate further. My friend, Gary Mueller, deserves to be celebrated, and hopefully this post can be a small part of a celebration of Gary’s life, a celebration of his lasting impact on this world. A world he made a better place by just being himself. For Gary was one of the happiest people I know. A gentle, caring man, always quick with a smile, a chuckle, and an amusing story. He was a delight to be around. He was a Beatles fanatic, a dedicated Washington State Cougars fan, a fine wine and beer connoisseur. Most of all, he was my friend; a reliable mate to share a beer, help with a chore, or to just hang with. A man so full of life and love.

I met Gary about 40 years ago in high school. And unlike with many of my high school friends, Gary and I kept in touch. Over the past 15 years of so, since Tanya has been in my life, we have gotten together with Gary and his wife Vicki almost monthly. A week ago Thursday, Gary collapsed while getting ready for work. Vicki found him a minute or two later, but he was already gone. Often when the four of us were together, we’d joke about how Gary was the youngest of the four (we are all within about a year of the same age). Yet now, seemingly way before his time, he was the first to go.

If we are lucky in life, we have a few true friends. Friends who will stick with us through anything life throws at us, who aren’t bothered by our warts and eccentricities, who make our lives better to live. Gary was such a friend. He made my life better; he made me better. And this, my feeble attempt at a tribute, does not do him justice. Gary, my dear friend, I miss you…


37 responses

  1. Thank you for sharing your heart and remembering your friend. You wrote a beautiful tribute to your friend and how his friendship enriched your life. Time will help a little to ease the pain and in some time your memories of him will be happier..

    October 29, 2016 at 11:07 am

  2. elmdriveimages

    Joe: Very sorry about your friend, Gary. I’ve lost a good many friends over the years…of course I’m an old man now, but, it’s never easy.

    October 29, 2016 at 11:50 am

    • Thank you Dan, I agree, experience with it does not make it easier.

      October 31, 2016 at 9:08 am

  3. Sorry for your loss.

    October 29, 2016 at 12:00 pm

  4. a beautiful tribute; bless his soul and yours.

    October 29, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    • Thank you so much Elizabeth

      October 31, 2016 at 9:09 am

  5. My sympathies to you, yours and his family.

    October 29, 2016 at 1:25 pm

  6. I only hope that when my time comes to go be with my Lord, that someone will write a loving tribute to me as you have done for Gary. Even as I write this to you, my son is attending a funeral in Tennessee for the sister of one of his life-long friends. She was a young mother of two small children and a devoted wife…yet she died of cancer that she had fought so hard. We do not know when our time will be, but as we put our lives in His Hands, we know that all will be well. Gary was one of the fortunate ones, as few are, in that his death was very fast…and no long days in a hospital or months on end knowing that the time is short. We all hope that our moment will also be quick. I know you miss him…and somehow I think he knows it also. Blessings, Nancy of Boyer Writes

    October 29, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    • Nancy, thank you so much for your kind words.

      October 31, 2016 at 9:10 am

  7. I’m so sorry for your loss. I like how you celebrated Gary here. I’m sure he’s smiling down on you now. Everyone is born and everyone dies but you’re right. We hardly ever talk about death.

    October 29, 2016 at 2:53 pm

  8. I am so sorry for your loss, Joe. You write with such love of a great friend.

    October 29, 2016 at 3:22 pm

  9. heartfelt…sending you loving kindness…

    October 29, 2016 at 3:56 pm

  10. I’m sorry for your loss of a dear friend. What a tribute to your friend.

    October 29, 2016 at 8:37 pm

  11. An Activist Abroad

    I’m very sorry for the sudden loss of your friend. When a beautiful friend of mine died tragically two years ago, I found a poem written by Rumi very helpful as we also don’t discuss death much, or at all, in England. It’s at the bottom of the post that I wrote about my friend. I hope it brings a little solace.

    October 30, 2016 at 7:37 am

    • Thank you. The Rumi poem is wonderful.

      October 31, 2016 at 9:14 am

      • An Activist Abroad

        I’m glad you liked it. It makes so much sense, through the pain.

        October 31, 2016 at 1:15 pm

  12. Thank you for a heartfelt tribute to your friend. I am very sorry for you loss.

    October 30, 2016 at 3:03 pm

  13. Barb Kerby

    Rex and I are sorry to here about Gary passing away. Gary was special. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Take care,

    October 31, 2016 at 8:48 am

  14. Diana Phelan

    A beautiful tribute to your dear friend. I am so sorry for your loss.

    November 2, 2016 at 10:09 am

  15. Life is so short. In the little time we get, it’s our responsibility to make the most of it. Spend times with our loved ones as they are ones who make life worth living for you never know when the Gary in our life disappears without a goodbye.

    December 2, 2016 at 7:37 am

  16. Pingback: Death of a Friend — joebeckerphoto |

  17. granny annie

    Joe, I wanted you to know I shared this post on my blog. I too had lost a friend not so long ago. Your post touched my heart and very soul.

    January 30, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    • Thank you, it is in sharing that we not only help each other but also honour our friends who have passed

      January 30, 2017 at 9:35 pm

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