As you know, Paul Keelan has made the transition to teaching Aikido (and life) on another plane. All of us will miss him until we catch up with him at the new dojo. However, though he has gone, there is still a couple of housekeeping matters left to deal with:
1) Memorial - His daughter Laine has had his body cremated and he currently sits in the house that they both shared over the past couple of years in northern New Hampshire. Since he had no friends in the area (except for some people in the local diner that he, of course, managed to charm even while not being able to talk), Laine decided that a full wake/funeral didn’t make much sense. All of his friends and family are in the Boston area, so it would seem to make more sense to have some sort of memorial here. Laine and I agree that the fall is probably the best time to do this.
At this point, what shape such a memorial would take is very much up in the air. If anyone would like to help us define and organize such an event, please let me know and we can start to move toward something that is worthy of his legacy.
2) Money - Joji Sawa told me that it is a Japanese tradition to send money to the bereaved family on the death of a member of the family. This would especially be appropriate now as a personal memorial to Paul. Lanie was not able to work during the winter into the spring since Paul needed 24 hour care and, as a result, she is flat broke - they were living on Paul’s pension checks and now those have disappeared as well. People have been very generous over the past months in keeping the both of them going. Now I would ask that you continue to be so for a short period while Lanie gets her feet under her. She’s got a rough transition to go through (and she has to find a job as well) anything that you could spare would be very much appreciated by both of us.
3) Me - Last (and least) there’s me. People have been quite sweet expressing their concern for me over this final stage of Paul’s illness and I very much appreciate it. I’m really okay. I don’t like death much, but at my age you do grow somewhat used to it, even the death of someone who was as important to me as Paul.
I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed the role that I’ve had in Paul’s illness for the past few years, but it had to be done and I knew that I could do it and, most of all, that he deserved the effort. Oddly enough, I haven’t “practiced" Aikido in over five years (bad back) but nothing in the previous 25 has made my feel prouder and closer to the community than the response that all of you have made to Paul's illness. I knew when I first walked into the dojo in 1981 that there was something special there and it’s good, after all these years, to have that feeling validated by the concern and the generosity of all of you during the past five years.
There really is an “Aikido Community” and we take care of our own. You have no idea how good this makes me feel.
If you have any questions about all of this, please let me know. I will keep you informed about Memorial preparations as they develop during the summer.
Thanks for your love and support.