Remembering Randy Free
12/3/42 to 8/10/11
The death of winter is the birth of spring,
New hopes bound
New birds sing,
Fresh new flowers on straight strong stems,
It’s just the end
. Beginning again. Unknown
“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can read.” Mark Twain
“Love is the only thing that we can carry with us when we go… “ Louisa May Alcott
These passages were found among Randy’s belongings. One was a bookmark and the other two were torn from the obituary page of the San Diego Union Tribune. He was never a collector of “things”, especially during his last year, so each item was significant. This is how Randy wanted to be remembered; what he believed to be true and both why and how he lived his life the way he did.
He seldom spoke ill of anyone, offering a kinder interpretation of someone’s attitude or actions whenever possible. Randy was polite and generous to a fault, a Southern Boy who spoke in warm, soft tones and looked people in the eye when he spoke. There wasn’t a dog or cat that didn’t want to be near him, a child who was not fascinated and delighted by him, an elder person who was not charmed and soothed in his presence. His friends and family were met by unconditional love whether they saw him daily or once a year.
Worldly goods that commonly connote wealth, titles and status earned by meeting today’s conventions, all the formulas designed to guide one in the “making of the man”… these were not his standards. Randy liked adventure. Fearless, he enjoyed testing and stretching his natural gifts of intelligence, strength and stamina. Creative, he was challenged by and demonstrated remarkable field expediency in overcoming the unexpected. He really enjoyed being alive. His riches were found in experiencing and sharing life, not whipping it into shape. He never judged those who had chosen other paths, although many whom he loved and admired questioned his. You see, he knew that people should live life the way they wanted to live. Therefore, he could not help but be pleased when others achieved what they believed to be success; even though he might not be able to imagine why that was their desire. Colorful he was. Small-minded and mean-spirited he was not.
Randy embodied peace and consideration, as well as respect for the awesome world in which he lived. He walked softly upon the earth. His ecological footprint was one of the smallest I know. He prepared delightful food and was a gracious host. He would go to the store for chocolate or ice cream in the middle of the night. He would do anything at any time for someone he loved. Nothing was owed or expected in return. He visited patients in the hospital whom most people didn’t even know were sick. He supported a friend in jail when that man’s own family had turned their backs to him. Randy cared for my brother, with respect and love, when he was alone and physically challenged; and he was always, always there for my mother.
Randy was lovely and comfortable in his own skin. He was as happy camping on the ground by a Saguaro cactus as he was sipping the best whiskey in a fine house on the beach in Encinitas. Randy was deeply spiritual, living his faith rather than preaching it or waving it as a flag. He cried without shame. Randy was his own man and he respected himself. Throughout it all, living and dying, his shirt was always tucked in, Marine-style absolutely. And he was funny, funny, funny; his wit as quick and welcome as his wonderful smile.
Indeed, kindness was his language.
Love is what he gave away with abandon when he was with us,
and love is what enfolded him as he left.
It was a fine end,
and he is beginning again.
Thank you and Happy Trails, Randy. We love you forever. See you next time around!
Dawn, Lenore and Bill Bern, Angela Bern Castagnola and son, Maxwell