That is a lot of emotion right there, just writing your name, you old pharte. Never had any idea that I would one day be writing this, but I guess things happen that way, sometimes.
The times we shared at Hakata, Kyushu, the mess hall all-night conversations, the relaxed back-and-forth banter of two guys who were just barely past being teenagers, two old guys due to their exposure to the various kinds of hells we survived in Vietnam, and - this is hitting me so damn hard, Gene. Don't really know what to say here, how to say it, and I just want to scream out, "WHY!??", but I know I won't hear back any kind of answer that I will want to accept.
You were as close to me as a brother, back there in the Agency, Gene, and it was more than just a good feeling. More than a good way of things. Hell, Gene, you got me to quit my damn drinking, just by sitting my butt down and talking with me, night after long and lonely night, for weeks... but I did it - you did it - we did it!
All I can do now is accept the feelings I have inside me - the hurt, the pain, the anger... and I know it ain't your fault, but damnit, Gene, do you mind if I get upset about this, maybe just a little bit?
I just wanna lean my head back and bawl like a baby, Gene - you have no idea, but you really do, since you are where you can know these things now... just how hard this is to have to carry with me.
Loved you, Gene - deeper than a brother. Like a life-long friend, in the truest sense of the word.
A friend, if he is a true friend, in the strongest, most meaningful way the word could mean, is such that, should he die, you wish to hell that it could have been you that had gone on, instead.
Never will be another like you, Gene - and that is the way it should be. You were not one out of millions - you were simply one who lived his life well, caring, loving, being real. I learned a lot from you, and I appreciate, very much, that experience of just knowing you and being able to talk with you all those times.
You'll have to excuse me now, Gene, as I seem to have all these memories sliding down from the corners of my eyes, and it's a little hard to see what I'm writing.
~peace, my friend.... Vaya con Dios, mi hermano.