Death of a Friend

We knew it could happen any time, but we weren’t ready. When we received the news that our dear friend Scott Becker had died, it hit like a freight train. Even though this was his third brave fight against cancer, we had hoped he’d be around for at least many more months and even years.

A door has closed and it will not open again. Through that door had come laughter and appreciation and understanding and kindness and support and beauty and empathy and joy and strength and encouragement and new ways of seeing. The door stood open all those years. So many gifts of love and friendship passed through it. How can it be shut?

He was just here. We can still hear that infectious laugh bouncing around inside our heads. If we could kick down the door, surely he’d be there grinning from ear to ear, ready to explain Karl Barth or engage us with his Boxing Nun puppet. Didn’t matter if we were six years old or if we had a wall covered with academic credentials; Scott was at ease with us either way.

We’re only starting to realize how many little things are now locked behind that door:

  • Secrets to flawless execution of a multi-course sit-down dinner for 40 in their home. As chef, host, and banquet manager, Scott scheduled every detail in five-minute intervals: Turn on oven. Take salads out of refrigerator. Light candles. Welcome guests. No wonder the dinner came off without a hitch.
  • Ideas to liven up a church’s annual report. Sum up the year’s Christian Education activities in cartoon form as “The Adventures of CE Guy.”
  • Adding unintentional twists to make activities even more memorable. Scott performed a foot washing ceremony for a group he was helping to train. The last of the ten trainees yelled “Ouch!” when Scott poured water over her feet. Scott made a note to self for next time: when mixing hot water with cold for this ritual, hot water does not need to be boiled.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Thank you, our dear Scott, for sharing your life with us. What a great gift. We believe that you are well and free and laughing on the other side of the door, and we’re happy for you. We just have to get used to life without you on this side, and we don’t know how to do that right now.

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3 responses to “Death of a Friend

  1. Excellent words Tom, I appreciate your thoughtfulness and memories of Scott. What a dear friend and brother he was indeed. I look forward to celebrating his life on Saturday and mourning his loss with those who knew him well. I have NEVER heard the hot water story…that is pretty awesome. God bless you Tom, and I love you Scott!
    – Chris

  2. I hadn’t heard the hot water part of the foot washing story either. Like you, I was NOT ready for Scott’s death. It never occurred to me that he wouldn’t be around for our annual Southern California visit around Thanksgiving. Anyway, I appreciated your tribute to him, Tom.
    Denise Need

  3. Laurie Anderson, the performance artist, once described her experience of her father’s death as “feeling like a library had just burned to the ground.” Your post reminded me of that.

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