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By Ian Shank — Apr 16, 2013 1:59am
It's been 5 days since Henry passed away, and 5 days that I've struggled to avoid it. I submersed myself in schoolwork, refrained from facebook, talked, wrote, and thought of other things, all the while dimly aware that I was in active denial, and that each day Henry's absence was becoming harder to ignore. I guess I wanted to believe that if I could just distance myself from what had happened it would eventually all go away. When I met Henry, I remember thinking he was one of the most strangely kind people I'd ever encountered. I was a few years younger than he was, and while most kids would've just brushed me off, Henry was always unbelievably welcoming whenever our families would get together. I thought he was hilarious, and it want a lot to me to be in the presence of someone so genuinely hospitable at a time when I was still getting used to living in Minnesota. Like my dad mentioned, I will also remember Henry as "Saint Henry." I was something like 7 or 8 when I heard that a nun at Henry's Montessori school had bestowed that title on him, and I distinctly remember being not only unfazed, but somewhat bored by the story's conclusion. Of course Henry was a saint. By my 2nd grade logic it seemed fairly obvious: I had never seen him doing anything malicious, nor did he even seem capable of it. Though this story was from many years ago, this was a quality that stayed with Henry throughout his entire life. I'm not much of a literary person, but in recent days I keep coming back to a book I read in 11th grade English. In "100 Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, there is a character so pure and ethereally good that one day, quite without explanation, she floats out of her house and into heaven. Recalling this I can't help but think of Henry, and how much I, and everyone who knew him, will miss this exceptionally warmhearted individual.