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Remembering Pete Hartt

Pete Hartt was 51 years old. He had recently refreshed a commitment to whip himself into a physically healthy state, and had taken on a load of college credits that in about a year would allow him to be placed as "teacher" in a history or English classroom, that would at the point of Pete's hire become the luckiest in northern Vermont.

A sudden heart attack was too much for Pete to overcome. He died March 2 but his soul is perpetually planted within every organism that has, does, or will ever exist.

Pete, one of my three best friends, had done the eulogy at my father's memorial service, so accepting Pete's family's offer to speak at his service was the natural and comfortable thing to do.

Those left behind feel that sharing memories of the diseased is action that can ignite within us a more rapid process of healing. That's ridiculous. As far as I can tell, heartbreak and pain caused by death can be slowly eased by one thing, and one thing only-time.

But here, sadly, ironically (It was Pete who persuaded me to accept an offer to write this weekly column), I write about my friend Pete, and I pray that by using thoughts of Pete for my work I'm not trivializing a millisecond of his spiritually bountiful existence.

The following short passage from the eulogy I wrote for him "Pete's Piece" reminds me of a role in life we play called Friendship, and how important it is to play that role as selfless as possible.

Pete loved my dad, my dad loved Pete. Dad went to a nursing home at 92 years old and lived another thirteen months. I visited him every day the first six months, and tons the last seven. Pete would come along once, twice a week, and you know how though Pete went everywhere, he never stayed too too long anywhere? Well, when we visited dad, especially the first few months, we'd stay two, three hours. I'd tell Pete he should come along but that I was going to be there a while. He didn't care, he said he'd be fine with that. Dad was bedridden, quite balled up, arms perpetually crossed, taught face, little wool cap on, couldn't see much and had a severe case of dementia, if not, actual Alzheimer's, hard to say.

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