Friday, May 11, 2012

Goodbye Graham Viskovic

A few weeks ago a friend of mine died.  Happens all the time right?  Except I didn't know until yesterday when I thought I would post something on his wall as I hadn’t seen anything from him for a while. When I got there it was clear from the messages that he had died about a fortnight ago.   

I worked with him about 10 years ago. He was very bright, very funny, about 12 feet tall, a rascal who wrote the book on Commercial Law in New Zealand and had a varied and wonderful career in the law profession.  He was a wonderful storyteller and regaled me often with many stories of wild nights and even wilder parties.  He talked about law firms and how they worked and had been an important figure in the Law Society.
When our paths crossed he tutored individual students in Commercial Law in a tertiary institution.  I was his manager which really only meant that I organised his time so that the trip in from Huia was worth his while.  He had moved out to Huia and renamed himself the Huia Hermit around the time he developed diabetes which for a while made absolutely no difference to the way he lived. A bit further on he stopped drinking.   I used to keep bananas around on his days to keep up his blood sugar so that he didn’t turn into a complete shouting raver.  Even when he did he was fun and kind and lovely. 
So far, so good. 

I left that place of employment and ran into him once at Lynmall when he ventured in to town and I went down the road.  I moved to the North Shore, worked on the North Shore and he was my friend on Facebook.  He asked me out for a visit to see the Spring but I didn’t go, not because I didn’t want to, I just didn’t get around to it.
This started me wondering once again about the nature of virtual friendship, we think we are connected but we are not.  I take snaps and share them online but is it because I want to share the experience or is it because I want to have my experience, possibly my competence validated?  If I go to Cuba and don’t put up any snaps, does that mean it didn’t happen?  If I don’t post, does it mean I am not doing anything virtually worthwhile?

What's the take home message?

Love your friends  and hang out enough with them so that you know when they die.

See you round Graham.


That'll do said...

I think I remember Graham. I guess there will always be friends somewhere that die and we won't know about it. Hard to know how you'd find out about it sometimes without facebook... It surprises me sometimes when I go to a friend's page and they've had another baby and I didn't even know... It's like celebrities, surely I should have known that they were pregnant?!
I think having virtual lives is about validation too. We are important. The small things do matter. We just have to be able to disentangle ourselves from it to ensure we have a real lives too.

Helen Back said...

Yes, we do need to balance our actual, often ordinary, lives with our virtual lives. Perhaps validation is a social need which is part of being human?

Yes he would have been there when you were.

cherbrow said...

I know the virtual world is odd. This is a lovely and moving piece and I'll call you sometime to talk not Facebook!

Rollercoaster said...
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Rollercoaster said...

Sad. Yes, Facebook can be a bit like reading the tea leaves. I still think it's useful for keeping up with the parts of other people's lives that they share, especially when they're overseas. We just have to remember to write (email), phone or visit them as well. (BTW this is Liz)

Helen Back said...

Thanks everyone.