Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Lost A Friend

A friend I never met died on Tuesday. Sam Johnson of Savannah Georgia was 42.

I was away from the computer for most of the day so it wasn't until a few minutes ago that I checked Ivan Shreve's blog, Thrilling Days Of Yesterday. When I read the top item a nasty chill ran through my body. Ivan had received the news of Sam's death from a commenter on his blog. Apparently Sam's older brother Anthony found him dead in his apartment.

Sam, along with Ivan and a handful of others was one of the first people that I encountered when I started this blog. In fact I can't remember when I first encountered Sam because the comments from before I went over to Haloscan seem to have disappeared. It doesn't matter. Sam always always knowledgeable and usually had something interesting to say when he commented on what I wrote.

The real revelation was when I started reading his blog. Sam's writing was more far ranging in subject matter than mine and touched on just about everything. I learned a lot about Sam and his life, the mother he loved and the father he hated, the illnesses that be battled, his love for working in radio which he only recently gave up, his feelings on life the universe and well, everything. He was an interesting writer and he could pull you in. What turned out to be his last post was an open letter to Miley Cyrus about how to treat his city. Sam had rules about how to behave in Savannah and you damned well better not disrespect his town.

Sam suffered from severe kidney failure. Every few days he went for dialysis which sometimes didn't always go as smoothly as it might have. He raised money for the National Transplant Assistance Fund Southeast Kidney Transplant Fund, and was hoping to get a transplant. He needed to lose some weight before he could get the transplant and of course he needed money to pay for it. As a Canadian the latter part breaks my heart. While Canada has one of the lowest rates of organ donation in the western world, cost would not be an impediment. Finding the kidney might, but for someone whose need – in terms of the seriousness of his case – was as great as Sam's the other impediments (money and the waiting list) probably wouldn't have been as great. For those of you who read this, maybe consider giving a bit of money in Sam's name either to the National Kidney Foundation in the United States, The Kidney Foundation in Canada, or to your local fund of the National Transplant Assistance Fund.

Sam Johnson loved radio, comic books, old cartoons on TV, bacon, and his town, and he had opinions on all of these subjects. I was interested in reading about what interested him. I'm really going to miss you Big Man.

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