|Posted: December 23 2006 at 6:59pm | IP Logged | 14
I had the honor of representing the forum at Gregg Allinson’s funeral service on Friday evening. Having never attended the funeral of someone I hadn’t met in person, I was a tad apprehensive about going, but Gregg’s family made me feel completely welcome the moment they met me. More on that in a minute.
It was obvious from the size and demeanor of the crowd that Gregg touched a lot of lives, and that his loss will be felt by many for quite some time. Relatives, co-workers, and lifelong friends were in attendance, of course, but one thing that really struck me was the presence of a young woman and her mother who were frequent patrons of the public library where Gregg worked. They told Gail, Gregg’s mother, how much they enjoyed talking to him, and how he always made them smile. That reminded me, I suppose, of how most of us here on the forum interacted with Gregg. Many of us never met the man, but we read his words and knew what he liked (and disliked!) and got a good chuckle out of his observations. In other words, we liked him after only a brief exposure to his thoughts and opinions. We may not have known him well, but we knew enough to recognize the good stuff on sight.
There were a couple of tables on display, containing some of Gregg’s favorite belongings. A 1960’s comic book featuring Green Lantern and the Manhunter from Mars. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and FIREFLY DVD’s. A copy of Albert Camus’ THE STRANGER, which I understand was Gregg’s favorite book. A CD by a band called The Boll Weevils. Some homemade video projects, as near as I could tell. It was a touching way to remind mourners of the things that Gregg found important and relevant.
Also on display was a mounted collection of (mostly recent) photographs assembled by Brian and Gail, and a more comprehensive photo album containing pictures taken throughout Gregg’s life. You already know what they say about pictures and how many words they’re worth, I’m sure.
Thomas, Gregg’s father, was the first family member I met. He was cordial and soft-spoken and somehow had a warm smile and hearty handshake for everyone. He reminded me a bit of my own father in that “they don’t make men like that any more” way. Thomas was clearly in the throes of overwhelming sadness, and yet he comported himself with dignity and courtesy at every turn. He introduced me to Gail and Brian, both of whom expressed their gratitude for all of the kind words written by the members of the forum.
Once I told Gail that I had brought along a hard copy of the condolences posted in this thread (excellent suggestion, Mietus), she thanked me profusely and immediately slipped the 17-page document into the front cover of the aforementioned photo album, so that our words could be read by all mourners. I then spent some time with Gail, just holding her hand and listening. I hope that I was some small comfort.
Before leaving, I invited Brian to our chat on Saturday night, and to the forum in general. I hope that he takes me up on the invitation, because he sure seemed like a hell of a nice guy to me. He’d make a welcome addition to the family, I think.
I’m very glad that I went to the service, and I can’t thank Thomas, Gail, and Brian enough for making me feel like more than just some guy who types words on an internet thingy. I also want to stress just how touched they all were by every word that the people reading this post wrote in Gregg’s memory. They all asked me to tell you how much it meant to them, and how it reinforced what they already knew: any life touched, even in a small way, by Gregg Allinson was probably a life that was made better.
And that’s the thought that’s been nagging me since last night. I wish, with all of my heart, that I had gotten to meet Gregg. Some of the people reading these words did know Gregg personally, so I’ll close with this: I envy you. Treasure the memories you have of Gregg, and know that some of us out here are a bit worse off for not being as fortunate as you are.
Rest in peace, Gregg.