Rich Didrickson (1955-2013)


“Life’s a voyage that’s homeward bound.” — Herman Melville

It sent me back on my heels and against the ropes.

I was so surprised that time stopped.

It’s disappointment struck like a head-on collision.

When I answered I heard the life expectancybut I expected a little empathy;  not the credibly, relative destiny. 

It was a bombshell aimed dead-center to insure the greatest damage.

It was the end of one of several episodes.

It was the start of a new episode.

It was colorless. Soundless. Sightless.

It’s coldness remained near me, like walking out of a freezer.

It underestimated its infliction of cruelty.

Rick had the courage and nerve and right to refuse pain medications, food, and finally liquids. His pledge to himself guaranteed freedom from his hellish suffering that heroic measures caused, and found his real life patiently waiting at the gates of heaven on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at precisely 1:00 p.m.

It’s impossible for me to estimate the number of people who now have holes in their hearts where Rick used to be.

7 thoughts on “Rich Didrickson (1955-2013)

  1. Mr.Harlan Didrickson,the loss of your brother was a real eye opener to just what a short time we are put on this earth. I remember many moons ago,at a little place called West Milwaukee High School,where your brother was a big brother to all of us. Harlan I must say, I am proud of you for the way you handled this tragedy. I salute you my brother. May God lend a healing hand and guide you back to the happiness you deserve.Take care my friend. Best regards,Randy & Carol Sergeant.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Randy. Decades have passed and we’ve all changed in some way or another. But at WeMiHi I always admired the friendship you gave to me Randy; and I know he always had a crush on you, Carol!

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  2. Harlan (Harley), I have fond memories of all of us at West Milwaukee building our homecoming floats. Dikes was in Peter’s grade, but I was there as well. Those are such happy times that I will always remember. I remember you, me and Bill Besaw, Mike Besaw and Bruce Wong sitting at St. Mary’s in the summer or at Washington Park, Please take time for yourself to rest and reflect and remember you have friends that care for you. Our best, Peter and Carol Ann Dujanovich

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    1. Thank you for the exceptionally number of times you wrote to me here on my blog. Writing took hold of my destiny by way of poetry (by far the most disciplined). I’ve been blessed to have gone to eminent graduate schools. I always felt guilty for the fortuity caused by my writing and spent years giving him things he never wanted and seldom used. Both parents died early and he felt a certain paternal responsibility. He was an honest, trustworthy, and civil gentleman that could tell a joke better than anyone!

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  3. Harley, I can not express how sorry Gary & I are to hear about Dikes. We had the opportunity to visit with him last year at the WeMiHi reunion concert. We laughed as we reminisced about our good old high school days. Now a year later, we sit here reading your blog and thinking “how precious life is and how lucky we are to have known your brother”. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Gary & Geri Pitroski

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    1. Dear Geri and Gary, thank you for your kind words. I can honestly say he was stubborn all the way; leaving when he was ready and on his terms. His departure was swift and John Hubmann said quiet and uneventful. We had a party for him yesterday and I was awestruck by the number of guests! I’m glad you found out by way of my blog. I’ve written five or six posts about him to give the world a glimpse into who he really was. When he had his stroke I asked readers to send him get-well cards; he received over 100 from all over the world: Just one example that people care for each other globally. Once again, thank you for your thoughts and kindness.

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  4. Harley, I’m very sorry to hear about your brother. I can only imagine how difficult this must be for you. Please accept my sincerest condolences.

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