Monday, March 19, 2007

Missing my "tocayo"

I have waited so long to add my words to this wonderful homage to Bill. I do so today because Bill has been much on my mind. I think he is nudging me to "get on with it."
My name is Guillermina, which is Spanish for Wilhelmina, which is the feminine of William. My siblings called me "Bill." So, Bill was my "tocayo" and I his. While a Spanish to English dictionary might define that word as simply "namesake," I believe it means much more. In some odd, almost metaphysical way, names can define and shape us. That defining and shaping allowed Bill's soul and my soul to touch gently and with dear affection during the times we had together.
My family and I met Bill when he was 17 years old; my husband, Michael, and I were beginning a life-long friendship with his parents Patrick and Ute. Bill was a sparkling young man, about to commence his college education at Georgetown University. The last time we saw Bill was in 2005, at the celebration of our new home in Calistoga. He was in the process of "commencing" then as well. By coincidence, we must have been just a couple of blocks away the moment the angels took Bill. With our daughter, Marlena, Michael and I were walking towards a breakfast spot on that glorious Sunday and were on the marathon route at about mile 20.
In the intervening years, we shared some wonderful adventures with Bill and the Goggins clan. I won't go on with interminable descriptions of cherished moments but will describe only one. I cannot recall the year, but I do know it was St. Valentine's Day. The Goggins and Byrne families were to dine at a Mill Valley restaurant, at which Bill was working. Bill had arranged to wait on our table. I had hoped he would; I had not expected he would decorate our table in that special, thoughtful way that was pure Bill. When we walked into the restaurant, we were not only greeted with beautiful flowers on the table but also with deep red, heart-shaped confetti tastefully strewn thereon. I cannot recall what we ate but do know we have never been served with such thoughtful affection and good cheer. Bill certainly had a way with women, even those of us old enough to be his mother.
But Bill wasn't smarmy; his clear, knowing eyes were softened with warmth and acceptance. Many of you have described Bill's keen intellingence, often unfathomable verbiage, and uncontainable zest for life. All true. When he comes to my mind, however, I will recall the direct gaze of his eyes, the warmth of his hands in mine, and his freely given declarations of affection. I love you too, mi tocayo.

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