For my obituary:
Bill Halpin died as he lived -- he took a nap and, you might say, failed to wake.
He didn't battle cancer, though it accompanied him.
He wasn't plagued with a heart condition, though he looked for his heart all his life.
His diabetes did not slow him down, he was always slow.
He died of life. He always felt that the single greatest cause of death is birth. If there was no birth there'd be no death. And, no. the opposite of life is not death. Life has no opposite. That's a wisdom that doesn't show up in advertisements between innings of the World Series.
Bill Halpin did three things during his 74 (or so) years:
1. He wore ragg socks and wool berets;
2. He sat in silence from time to time;
3. He felt poetry and pondering were the ways we learn about words, the world, and wisdom.
Apart from that, he tried to love those who were part of his life: his son, his companion, those he alienated, his sister's progeny, those he sipped coffee with, those he conversed with in prison, in the elderly residence, in hospital, in hospice, and in the Raimon Panikkar Conversation Kitchen at foot of Ragged Mtn.
He was pretty much a fool. Didn't hold jobs well. Couldn't teach university courses over 30 years worth a lick. Never made a profit in 13 years of harbor-side bookshop & bakery. Never settled in to child welfare, residential treatment centers, alternative high school education programs, training staff for each of these was of suspect worth, and, finally, was an imposter to the helping profession believing that poetry and philosophy were valuable assets in the spy game of mental and emotional health.
He was a categorical and calculative failure through the years.
He pretended to be contemplative.
He couldn't sustain a single prayer or find any trace of God in places listing God's address.
Still, on route 90 Friday mornings on way to maximum security prison for open conversation, he'd hold up his toasted English muffin to the oncoming traffic and say, barely audible, hoc est enim corpus meum, and he believed every word of it true.
And so, he died as he lived, watching breath depart and return. Only, this last breath decided to go off into space for a walkabout, leaving him, wondering: What now?