Sean Murray 195?-2009

I met Sean while visiting Olympia, Washington, in 2007 (before I knew I'd be moving to Portland). I was sitting in the Urban Onion and behind the bar—on the ubiquitous wall of snapshots—someone had black markered The Goddamn Devil across the bottom of a Polaroid.

Later, I recognize the guy from the photo, get a pleasant vibe from him, and introduce myself by saying, "Well, if it isn't the goddamn devil." To which we laugh and discuss the photo. I learn he is gay. He learns I am not. I learn he is a local radio announcer. We talk about our shared art interests. He talks music. I talk about my hiking Siamese cat.

He was always as full of stories as he was a patient listener. The last night we hung out we—my paramour, he, and I—went to a Jazz bar in PDX Oldtown/Chinatown. He may have had a slight cold, but mostly he was kind-of-sad because he'd not emotionally recovered from the recent death of his cat. As he told the story of his pet curling up on his chest and heaving her final sigh, I cried for a cat I'd never met.

I got an e-mail from him in March: he was in the hospital after having four lymph nodes removed.

We spoke on the phone ten days ago: he was bluntly non-optimistic. Cancer. Moving very fast. Woozy from medication, he told me 'he didn't think he'd live to see summer'. And I told him I'd come visit the first week in May.

He died in his home last night.

You will be missed, Sean. I didn't know you for very long, but even short friendships can be strong ones.

The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up. — Mark Twain

No comments: