No one was spared from the teasing, but I don’t think anyone wanted to be. One day as I unrolled my mat in the Mysore room, John turned to me and pointed to the name that was printed on my yoga mat.
“Good thing your name’s there!” he said with a big smile. “Otherwise we wouldn’t know who you were!”
I started to say something back, but then Seth the instructor said, “Sssshh!” from across the room. Over the years, it seemed that John caused many of us to be “Ssshhed” many times. Probably none of us minded.
Besides being a yogi and avid cyclist, John was a dedicated practitioner of karate and tai chi. In the evenings, he would often do more than one karate class. Some mornings, he would hobble in, favouring one side of his body or the other.
“You alright, John?” I’d ask.
|Baddha Konasana: John took great pride and delight in being able to do the pose, despite two hip replacements!|
Every once in awhile, his replacement hips would pop out of
place, usually in Trikonasana (triangle pose).
Once John brought me a little jar of strawberry jam and it was absolutely delicious. He was always trading chutneys and curry with other yoga practitioners. I think that John was able to thoroughly demonstrate that where love and generosity are involved, there’s no need to hold back. I hope to be able to truly remember this.
Although I don’t know John’s family, I wanted to give them a card to express my gratitude for John’s presence in my life, and to offer my condolences. It took me a long time to choose the card. In the end I picked out one with a picture of a silhouetted person on a sunsetted beach and her golden retriever. Below the picture were the words, “No one could have possibly given...”
Inside the card was the word, “More.”
I thought that this message really captured John. This morning before the funeral, as I was filling out the card, I turned it over and looked at the back. There were the words, “Pet condolence greetings.” The card company had created a line of Pet Sympathy Greeting Cards, to console people who had lost their dogs, and cats, and goldfish and guinea pigs. I had purchased a pet sympathy card in memory of my friend John, a vibrant and remarkable human being. Shoot.
At first I thought that I wouldn’t use the card, and that I would just write something in the funeral home’s online guest book. Then I realized that the words were actually right. And John always took immense pleasure in catching and making fun of me in one of my typical socially awkward mishaps.
Dog Friend in Gokarna, February 2016