Ode to My Landlord


Greg Heilman used to be my landlord a couple of years ago. He was an interesting guy, into ancient artifacts, sociology, alternative cultures, human psychology, botany and other things. Certainly up there on the list of intelligent people I’ve come across in my lifetime.

I didn’t find out until March that he had taken his own life. To me, it was rather shocking. To me he always seemed upbeat, always smiling. Often times I would see him sitting outside the beanery on Monroe handing out flowers to random women. It was that random kindness that led him to want to help students learn Psychology, or volunteer for the Red Cross.

Of course, I felt very sad. I thought that maybe had I reached out to this person more, I could have helped him. Maybe all he needed was someone to talk to in this city of 50,000 people. Just one could have made the difference.

Obviously, it’s too late. I remain grateful for having known him. I’ll remember our long conversations about Carl Jung’s theory of human archetypes, and how much he loved his dog Hanks. He was a good guy, and he will be missed.

So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.