Rick seemed keenly to understand Halloween was his last full day of being Rick In The World.
He worked on family projects with cheerful, zealous clarity from dark to dark, making clear, complex and courageous decisions, emailing, texting, phone calling. Listening. Considering--creatively and analytically. Questioning. Editing. Focusing. Following through. Resolving.
Anyone who knows Rick recognizes his thought and action algorithm at work here. It is his signature and awesome thought capacity, coupled with an unexpected gentleness in one so wired for problem solving and right action. It's an archaic word perhaps, but Rick truly was a gentleman.
I know he was making things move with his Rick Superpowers right to the end because I was privileged to witness much of it that day, including a 6 p.m. email I received from him 12 hours after we started chatting that morning, noting--with joy!-- a change in a map we were making for a web site: a road was now open, I should recompute travel time.!!!!!!!
In the end, Rick was at risk of becoming an exclamation point. I told him that on Halloween.
He laughed, a kind of silent bray with his head tipped back, then serious again, leveled an intense look and said: "Actually, that could work with this Ghandi-kind of body I have now. The wisdom, I can only wish for... But with this body, maybe standing on a ball, I could be an exclamation point!!!" He laughed again at his own emaciation--and added more and more exclamation points to our correspondence throughout the day.
I did recompute travel time. I sent him the update along with this image of a light-bearing horse to ride to the other side. Rick was always a boy and a man of horses. At 12:23 a.m. on Nov. 1, I received this text from him: Cool!
It was the last thing I heard from Rick, and the eternal thing I will remember him for: Cool!
More exclamation, less pointy-ness. Thanks Rick! May it be so for each of us in the world.