Today many people will gather to honor A.J. Gooch. A.J. was a father, husband, son, brother, friend, druid, drummer, prankster, and so very much more. People will say many things about him, much has already been said, and more will be shared.
I mentioned to my dad yesterday that I would be heading to Cleveland to today for a memorial and he cocked his head and asked “for the guy that met you for dinner when you took me up to the VA hospital?”yeah dad, that guy. That guy that in a world of acquaintances was a friend. A person who had a smile that could light up the night and a twinkle in his eye to match. As Billy would sing he was quick with a joke or a light of your smoke. A person who when he turned his attention to you would make you feel his love, his warmth.
I know those who were close to him knew him and his flaws, his scars and even his demons. But those were what made him, him. Because they knew him more, I am sure they will miss him more.
The A.J. I knew was the one who was always concerned that you were OK, at festivals or ritual he was always serving his community. He was a warrior, bard, seer and priest in the truest sense of those words.
In some of my darkest times I would look at my phone and there would be a drive by text from A.J. and I don’t know if he knew or how but it lifted me up. In a world where I was no longer valued or relevant he was still a friend. A real one!
I will leave you with this our last exchange…
I meant it, it is a better place because of A.J, and I am better for having known him. Love you my friend. .