"There is no death. Ony a change of worlds."
Quoted in Joseph Epes Brown
The Spiritual Legacy of the American Indian
Furthermore, I can easily imagine Jay embracing the words of the late Winston Churchill.
"I am ready to meet my maker, but whether my maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."
Jay may be remembered for his artful illustrations on the covers and pages of the now defunct Wyrd witchcraft journal, his deep and melodious voice, his twisted sense of humour, and his lifelong love of Pittsburgh. He was a Pagan for 35 years, partner to Goldie Brown, and friend to many in the community.
I was amazed to hear of his death. His wife Goldie informed me that he had gone into the hospital for a minor procedure to take care of a small problem he had with one leg and he would be out of the hospital soon. The next message I received a week later, while I had expected him to be home and resting, was to tell me that the doctors had amputated the lower half of that leg from the knee down. A minor procedure, the doctors said! Well, knowing Jay, to me a kind of "generic Sam Elliott", as I often described him, with his tall rangy build, that long face, the bushy mustache and that deep voice, I thought he would make the best of it and imagined that come Samhain, Halloween, he would wear a peg-leg he'd carefully carved probably from oak and attend a party dressed as a pirate, making the most of what would crush other men. And then no more than a week later, he was gone. While in the hospital for observation, an infection got the better of him, making me wonder just how well he was being observed by the "professionals", or what exactly they had planned to observe.
Be that as it may, Jay is gone now. I'll miss his wit and that twisted sense of humour that livened up the Pagan picnics I used to attend here in Pittsburgh.
Shortly after Jay's passing, fortunately while his wife was out for a walk with her dog, the house that Jay and Goldie lived in was burned to the ground by yet more "professionals", heating and air conditioning contractors who proved to be rather careless. Members of the Pagan community and the Pittsburgh community Goldie lived in were extremely helpful. A settlement was finally made and she lives now in a new, cozy house that she is surrounding with gardens, a must for a woman who has been a Pagan, a Wiccan, it seems to me forever. Goldie has looked upon the tragedies as a new start, always looking for the sunshine behind the clouds, and I am hoping that there is something beyond Death's door, a Summerland for Jay, and that he too is making a new start on his life, all personal demons he did battle with in life defeated and behind him now.
I wish the best for you, Jay, and if you have a bit of time on your hands, I would welcome a visit.
August 4, 2013 E.V.