I remember back on Labor Day weekend 2002 or 2003 I threw a house party, at which I was sitting out back at a table by the pool as skippy shared with me that he had lung cancer. He defiantly puffed on a cigarette while he reflected, "too late now, can't hurt me any more now".
Skip was a US Marine through and through. At the same time in the scene he was a bottom, NOT a submissive and he would be quick to straighten you out on that. If you thought he was submissive then you really did not know skip. In fact I would venture to say that he probably was a "masochistic top", as there was no question that he was charge of getting what he wanted; no question about it.
I was not in his closer circle of friends, but like many crossed paths with him many times and was received by him with kindness at every turn.
In November 2004, I noticed Skip was getting frailer, as a couple of our community ladies helped him in and out of our community meeting.
A couple of weeks later he came to our SPICE Holiday Party dressed up as a green elf, again escorted by these same two ladies.
I made it a point to go by his home a few times in December 2004 and everytime I went by I kept running into the same two "angels", as skippy referred to them.
I discovered that while like me others would drop by, these two girls had become his primary community care givers. One was staying over at Skip's house during the week nights to care for him in those closing months and the other took him to her home every weekend for several months and care for him there. He loved being there because of her beautiful lakeside home was so peaceful and serene. Then she would also take her day off midweek and go to his home to help clean and cook.
The next time I ran into him was at a New Years Eve party thrown by one of his angels. He again was there for the weekend. Then the next weekend she brought him to The Palm Beach Munch on January 9th. He was obviously getting weaker and weaker. At the end of the Munch, she went to pull her car around and Skip hung on to my arm as we walked out of Gatsby's. He was wearing a USMC logo ball cap, and someone in the bar yelled out "Marine - hoo rah", without breaking a stride or even looking to see who it was, in a very weak voice barely able to speak, he whispered "hoo - rah" as he attempted to gesture with his right hand.
As the community became more aware of skips decline, more and more people came out to give a hand in his care. I saw skip a couple of times just before he died. A few times in January, and then finally on Friday before he died, but he was pretty out of it and delirious. Then again on Tuesday before he died on Wednesday, but he was not awake at this point. Only the hospice nurse was present with him. He went peacefully the next day.
I think for me the most stirring moment of the memorial service was when the color guard entered at the end of the service. One of our community members a 6'8" Dominant who had just retired from the airborne special forces was in attentance in full dress uniform. He alone stood to his feet at attention towering over the congregation in the center of the chapel as the color guard entered. I think I heard skippy say one more time from beyond, "hoo-rah".
Rest little brother.