My husband and I learned last week that Dick Harbin passed away from COVID-19. There’s so much to say about a person, even one you know briefly. So many small details that speak to them and their character and of the moment in which you knew them. But here’s what I have to say and what I want to remember.
Dick wasn’t someone I knew well, but he was someone I was looking forward to getting to know. He was one of my dad’s oldest friends–a buddy in high school and then college, best man at his wedding. They stayed in touch for 50 years.
I met Dick only recently, as my husband and I are hoping to buy a house, and Dick is in the mortgage business. At his office, we were immediately charmed by this tall, friendly man whose joy for his work and the people around him were both contagious and comforting. He was happy to talk about mortgages and financing options and genuinely excited for us to be getting our first home.
I felt so reassured. I felt that with Dick’s help, we would be able to confidently navigate this complicated business and even come out on top. His office walls were covered with the thank you notes of the many people he had helped. He was one of those interesting characters who never planned to retire–too happy to be at work, to be busy, to be helpful.
I wanted to get to know him better. I was looking forward to it, to the tie between us through my dad and the purchase of my first home. It’s the repetitive human tragedy to have assumed there was more time on this earth to do so. It’s this unique, brutal moment in time, in this pandemic, that took it away.
To his family and loved ones: I’m so sorry for your loss. He was a kindness in this world.
He sent us a thank you note after our meeting. I remember how touched I was to receive one. The thoughtfulness, the simple gesture of time and consideration. It’s still up in our living room.
Rest in peace, Dick.