suddenly, horribly real. It was just his body and the earth below us. No Church was here tocomfort us. He was dead, he was gone, and no part of him was here anymore.The thing I remember the most is his mother, with her new husband, sitting by the coffin,weeping loudly into his arms. Utterly out of her mind with grief, she could not take her eyes off the coffin, staring at her dead son. I walked away at that point because I didn’t want to see itanymore and wanted to compose myself. As the tractors came to lower the coffin his closestfriends came to it to touch the lifeless wood that housed his remnants. The grief then became palpable, a cry of colossal unfairness.Did it make any sense then, or did it ever, that he had been taken from us at the age of twenty-five? From an accident on the set of a movie he was working on, in the props department.The facts did not add up to anything. The grief did not care how the life was erased. It surged inspite of the simple facts of the death. And the tractors lowered him into the soil that beautiful dayin April.And next in my memory is the day I learned what had happened. An equally strange timeto hear of tragedy. I was standing on the porch when Robert came home from an audition. Hestood in the yard and we exchanged pleasantries. I held a beer in one hand. Then he told me."Billy called. I think – I think Nick may have died."It was so simple. And knowing Nick, the crazy way he lived his life, and knowing hisunpredictability, it kind of followed from the events of his life that this
happen. One mustfind a way to make sense of things. It
could have happened
. So in a way it wasn’t too outrageousor unfair. Because it was always a possibility. That is the sometimes cruel way the mind tries toconnect the varied phenomena it has witnessed, so that it does not go mad with the instability of the world around it.