This is what I said at JW's Memorial Ceremony last night:
I guess I knew JW the way most people in the school did. First, he was a conduit for the many requests for chanting in our world wide sangha. I saw his name in my inbox quite often. I also talked to him on the phone from time to time, usually when I was panicking over something. Where were the kasas and certificates? Would our ceremony happen? And I met him a couple of times, most recently when I did office work for him during my week of kyol che a few years ago. So we weren’t close. Nonetheless I loved him.
When we got Bobby’s email saying he had killed himself, it was like a knife in my heart. How could this kind, gentle, patient, compassionate man have slipped so far away from us?
For me today, this is JW’s great teaching: we need to keep one another close. You know, we are all in this together. We need each other. When one of us leaves, it’s so painful.
So if you know someone who seems to be pretty far out there, please reach out and call them back. And if anyone here tonight happens to have drifted far from us, please come back. We need you.