Farewell to Tom Belcher

Today was a a sad one. One of my old friends from my Washington days, Tom Belcher passed away right after Thanksgiving. He was just a few months older than me. He was at my wedding. Today was his memorial service in his hometown of Oxford, NC.

My oldest DC friend, David MacKay called me when he learned of Tom’s sudden passing after trouble with a hip replacement. Tom lived in Miami and we hadn’t see each other much in person, but we had kept in touch. David and I made plans to meet for Tom’s service.

I came up to Oxford early and David and I met for lunch at the Strong Arm Cafe and Bakery. It is a fairly new place that is having great success in Oxford. David and I rehashed all our old Tom stories. After a while two more old DC friends, and best friends to Tom, Kevin and Donald came in and joined us. I had not seen them in years.

When I think about Tom I always think about Kevin being with him as they were inseparable friends. Both of them were very broken up about Tom’s passing. We walked down the street to the Oxford Baptist Church and joined the family and gathered friends for the service. It was comforting to hear from people who loved Tom.

Parents should not have to bury their child. This is the second friend in the space of two months that I have lost. This is streak I would like to break.

The only silver lining is I had to chance to see people I have not seen in decades as well as spend some quality time with David, who I do see more regularly, but never enough.

Hold your friends close. There is not enough time left to make a life long friend. As wonderful as new friends are, they do not know your history, your inside jokes and all your secrets.

I pray for Tom’s family and friends who are missing him now. He was a loving son, brother, partner and friend.

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