Loi Krathong

Closeup of Wade's lantern. The text on it says,   FOR WADE IN LOVING MEMORY. There's also some Egyptian hiroglyphics on it. Perhaps it's a blessing.

First, on Thursday night, I finally prepared Odinmank’s data for incorporation into the MT setup on Xenon. It went very quickly. The only thing remains is for the Fish to tune a photo gallery plug-in (Why do people say “fine tune?” Doesn’t “tune” mean precise adjustments?) to deal with the King of Corsica’s illustrations and Odin’s photos. Then we’ll launch his new bloggy site.

This sort of brings me round to Loy Krathong.

Photo of Wade's lantern being launched. It's trailing sparks.

See, back in early November, after Odinmank learned of Wade’s death, he launched a flaming lantern with Wade’s name on it. He sent me some mail in early January about it. Well, let him say it himself:

“Greetings from Cambodia,

“I wanted to send you a couple of photos from early November. In the week after I learned of Wade’s death, they had a festival in Thailand called Loy Krathong. During the festival, celebrants float incense laden floating altars constructed from flowers and leaves with candles and sparklers out into the river. Also they release flaming lanterns into the sky. This is a purgative festival–cleansing the old and bringing renewal–also by participating one acquires merit. Anyways many write messages on the lanterns before launching them, so I launched one in memory of Wade.

“Enclosed are the pics–“

Photo of Wade's lantern floating higher.

This was an incredibly cool way to mark his death. Thanks, Tobe.

I also wanted to thank Rob. Rob was one of the tenants at Wade’s house on the day of the murder suicide. I wanted to thank him for telling his story. Rob tried to tell me this story during Wade’s service. I think he was a little nervous on how I’d react. People don’t aways want to know the truth about the people they love. But I do. I’m glad Rob told me this. I wanted to know.

Actually very little of it surprised me–the anti-depressants, the strip clubs and the unpaid bills. Wade went out like an episode from “Cops.” It was sad and pathetic–all the more reason for me to furious at him. Wade didn’t really share this me even though we were old, old friends. It feels like betrayal. But then again, looking back, I think I kind of knew it was getting worse. I just didn’t want to see.

A photo of Wade's lantern fading deep into the night sky. What a cool way to mark a passage.

But I see now. I’m angry with myself for not seeing sooner, for not doing something about it.

Not that there was anything I really could of have done. Wade was an adult. And I believe strongly in autonomy.

I’m angry with Wade and I still loved him. Emotions are complicated.

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4 Responses to Loi Krathong

  1. Toby says:

    Thanks for posting this. Actually when I did it, I waffled a bit, unsure of how to proceed; I was thinking of putting JT’s name on the lantern as well as their fates had become intertwined- I resolved not to do this but said a silent prayer for him anyways.
    I actually, despite having spent so much time overseas, was aware that Wade’s life had taken a turn for the worse– when I was back last February he confided quite a bit in me and I got the impression that although he was a relatively young man, he thought that his life was coming to a kind of end. He admitted to me that he had blown most of his money on strippers and restaurants and he seemed quite fatalistic about his opportunities with women having dried up with his money. I tried to convince him to travel to Asia where he could chase skirts all he wanted for a fraction of the cost that he had pointlessly wasted in US strip clubs, but he believed that he had also missed his chance to travel and expressed deep regret over it. It had been apparent to me for some time that frustration was overcoming him- I am sorry I could not have persuaded him much earlier to visit me overseas and relieve some of the tensions before they came to such a catastrophic and tragic conclusion. Anyways Farlops as you say hindsight is 20/20 and in the end there is little we can do to change the fateful decisions of others. However despite the fact that I too believe in what you call ‘autonomy’ I think that we are members of a community of friends, and it is our responsibility to look after each other, so indeed although we are guiltless in Wade’s failures and rash actions, there is no doubt that we could have done more to reach out to him and be aware of all that was going on in his life, even if we were powerless to change it.

  2. Pace Arko says:

    Yeah, you’re right Toby. As I recall, you and I did try to reach out to him but in some ways he was very guarded.
    Remember when he surprised us both with his sudden decision to move to Alki? It’s almost as if he didn’t want to trouble us with helping him move. I recall you were rather offended that he didn’t ask for our help until you dragged it out of him. For you, and for me too, him not asking for our help was in some sense shutting us out.
    Remember how surprised we were when he suddenly told us he was married? He didn’t even invite us. I would have gone, hell, I would have even worn a suit for him and, I know you would have too. But he didn’t even tell us until it was already a done deal.
    In very key ways he did shut us out. And we were his closest friends! Argh! How infuriating! What, didn’t he trust us?
    But yes, if there is something for me to learn from this, maybe I should be more active in looking out for and advising my friends. It’s kind of alien to my way of life but I’ll try it on and see how this develops.

  3. In reading Toby’s statements it frustrates me to learn that Wade felt his life was “coming to an end” because of blown money on strippers and restaurants. Wade’s opportunites with women were not tied to his money. Why did he think that? My husband, Bjorn was 40 years old when I met him. He had no money, was divorced, had 2 kids from 2 separate women (one from his marriage and the other from a teenage indiscretion in Ireland), he was a recovering addict/alcoholic, and lived in a rental house. He had no home, investments, real estate, and made $16.00 an hour as caretaker at a local bed and breakfast. On paper he does not sound like a very good catch. Love does not care about that stuff. Sylvia did not care about that stuff (although they had separate issues).
    I mentioned these things to Wade and it didn’t seem to make any difference in his opinions. Why not? He still had the house and there was no morgage on it. He could have sold it “as is” for at least $350,000 and bought himself a condo where he didn’t have to worry about maintenance. He could have used the extra money to travel to Thailand if he wanted to. He had much more going for himself than the average 37 year old guy. Most guys in their mid-thirties do not own a house outright. Also, Wade had no credit card debts to pay off, no medical debts to pay off, he really didn’t owe that much money to people. I’ve called around and found out it will only cost about $250-$300 to fix his van.
    Wade did not tell me about his moves until they were completed also. It just didn’t occur to him for some reason. When Wade got married, that was weird too. It’s like he and Sylvia just decided, “Lets get married at the courthouse this weekend”. My mother was flying out to West Virginia for a family reunion the day before and they didn’t even think of waiting two weeks so she could be there. It’s like it was no big deal to them. They needed 2 witnesses so they did ask me and Sylvia’s sister to attend. I was running late because of the ferry so they asked a neighbor at the last minute if she’d go with to take my place just in case I was 15 minutes late. They couldn’t even wait 15 minutes! Luckily I got there in time. Afterwards they celebrated with lunch at Red Robin. Now I can kind of understand this not seeming strange to Wade, but Sylvia didn’t think it strange either. My mother wanted to throw them a reception but Sylvia said, “oh don’t bother, what’s the point we’re already married now”.

  4. Pace Arko says:

    Yes, Wade’s “life checklist” frustrated me too and, I told him as much on at least three occasions. But Wade, once he settled on something, could be very stubborn so, I relented.
    On the other hand, I could understand. I had a similar checklist much, much earlier in my life which, luckily, I learned to let go. To me it seems that Wade never got to that point.
    I realize now that the fact that he couldn’t repair his car was a sign that things were not going well. Driving was major part of his life. Driving to work. Driving his friends. Driving for fun. It seems a small thing but it was something that I think validated him. When that was gone–well–it probably didn’t help his stress any.
    When I found Rob’s confessional, I dithered over whether I should link to it. In the end I finally decided to just because I don’t have any other account aside from the police report of what happened that day.
    It’s really just a perverse urge to document that day, to try to understand it.
    On the other hand, it hurts me to read it and I know it probably hurts you, Kristine.
    Maybe I should just take it down, romove the text and links and leave Toby’s memorial up. We’ve already commented on it but if, you want me to, I’ll take it down and archive these comments out of public view.
    Of course I’ll leave Toby’s Memorial up.

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