Since we started this site, I’ve tried to think of funny stories to write about Angus, and there are so many. But it’s hard to pick the right story among all the good ones, and writing, even now, is still hard. But here is what I wrote to say at the memorial, and I thought I could at least post this if nothing else.
We are together on an occasion that marks a horrible event – the death of a friend and colleague, a son, a cousin, a father, a husband, a brother to his sister and indeed to us all. There is a hole in our life where Angus was, and this unfathomable loss produces a ocean of grief.
However, there is no one here that can’t find something to be thankful for.
We are all thankful that we ever met this great man. We are thankful that we heard his annoying, grating voice across a crowded ballroom. We are thankful that we had the opportunity to learn from a person who has shaped our industry. We are thankful that we had the chance to love someone who truly loved us back, who would do anything to help a friend, and anything for a laugh.
It is hard when facing this devastating event to move beyond a obsession with endings. I think we all stopped and thought, “When did I last speak to Angus? When did he last text me? When was the last time I introduced him to a friend or relative and paused for a long second in fear that he would say something horribly inappropriate?”
I sat at my computer and – using my geek powers — searched for every email we’d ever exchanged. There was so much crap in our correspondence, insignificant stuff confirming dates or arguing about staffing. Talking to Angus was always entertaining but often not easy – those of us who had to deal with him and money always had to brace ourselves for the inevitable argument. Angus stuck to his guns. And his guns were always loaded.
As I read through this email, I would find amazing gems, a look into this man’s kindness, a portal into his heart. The last time I was supposed to work with Angus was in April on an IBM gig. My wife’s father became gravely ill, and it was clear I wasn’t going to be able to make it. I sent Angus an email explaining the situation and I told him I knew that he would cover me. He replied that of course everything was going to be fine, that I should enjoy my time at home, and he signed it “love angus.”
Love Angus. Indeed, we all do.
But although I needed to cling to that last email, to read it 40 times, to afford it more meaning than he ever intended, I realize now that not thinking about that email is the way to move forward.
We cannot make Angus’ life about his death. We cannot become obsessed with the end of his time on earth, not because the end wasn’t significant – but because it was more significant than we can ever fathom. The end was horrible, and because of that we will never come to terms with it.
I hope, over time, we can all move beyond this accident and remember this great man as he would want to be remembered. As vibrantly alive, as a powerful force to be reckoned with, as a guy who could make us laugh harder than we thought possible. As a friend to count on, as an electrician beyond compare.
From the day each of us met him it was impossible to not have him in your life. . We are all so guarded, but he found a way to catch us all with our guard down. Whatever emotional space you would allow him he would fill, with a smile or a joke, with a text message or a phone call, with a hug to say hello, or an obscenity to say goodbye.
He was amazing, at the top of his game, and to many of us, simply the best.
Professionally, he was a self made man, to be sure, and maybe being self made provided one of his only real professional shortcoming. He was sometimes hesitant to reach out to others for help.
I remember doing a show here in Florida where Ginger and the girls stopped by. Angus spent an hour with them at the pool on a show where there were plenty of hours to spare. I think the invoice reflected that.
However, Angus never said to Chris or me or Cameron that he was escaping the ballroom. He never whispered to me “cover me, I’m going to disappear for a few minutes,” almost because he didn’t want to admit that he couldn’t cover it all himself.
Now we’re faced with this horrible loss, and we’re all desperate to put it in a context that will allow us, to whatever small measure, to move on. To start to fill this emotional space with the love of Angus’ life rather than the pain of his death.
We all need to find a way to say goodbye so we can start and continue to help Angus’ family and each other through this impossibly difficult time.
We need to console each other as we have no doubt Angus would want us to — he would be here if he could to hold our hand, to share a tear, and to crack a joke.
In his absence, I think I speak for us all when I say to Angus, his family, his friends and each other, “relax my friend, we’ll cover you now.”
Posted on June 29th, 2008 by Greg
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