When I started this column, it was writing a pseudo-obituary/deep though profile on Robin Williams shortly after his death. As I write to you now for the last time under this title, I write with sad news again, but this time a little closer to home.

I’ve always used this column as almost a public journal, giving you, my readers, insight into my mind and the way I think the world works, or should work in some instances. As I write now for the final time, it is with a heavy heart.

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about Luke Hennigan for a minute. He was a good man, and a good friend. He got back in touch with me when I had cancer and would frequently stop by my place on his way home from work. We weren’t the closest friends in the world, but I still considered him a pal and confidante. At the age of 30, Luke passed away in his sleep.

I don’t know what to say, other than death has never reached this closely to me. In that way, I’ve been lucky. When I heard Luke had passed, I ran the gamut in my head of the same stupid thoughts I’ve known to come to people during grieving. I had thought about calling him the day before he passed, but didn’t. Stupid thought, that whole thing, but it can’t be helped, can it?

Prayers and that sort of very standard Facebook message that comes in and out like some kind of sorrowful tide these days just didn’t sit well with me. I reached out to some of the people who knew Luke to get in touch with his father, Steve, and asked if I could write something here. He told me that they’d be grateful. I hope I’m doing well enough.

Luke was my friend. I’ve said this repeatedly, but it’s hard to understand how difficult that is to come by for me. I have friends, I’m not alone, but for someone to reach out like he did, and to help me when I needed it? It was not something I could easily forget. My heart broke last week when I heard the news, and many others alongside mine.

I met Luke through School Within A School. SwS was a sort of alternative learning environment for kids like me and many others who operated better outside the normal realm of public schools. I was in 10th grade and he was a year older than me, already moving up. For some reason, SwS, and honestly Fayetteville High School in general, didn’t have the class rules that seemed to dominate any high school-themed movie. Older kids were not only kind, they were kind of awesome. Because of that, and because of the way SwS was in general, Luke was always friendly to me even if we didn’t run in the same circles during high school.

I wish I could tell you more. I wish I knew more. All I know is what Luke was to me; a kind friend who was there when I needed more of them, and who stuck around for years after the fact. It’s hard to describe how grateful I am to have known him, and to have gotten to talk with him and visit with him as frequently as I did toward the end.

I’m sorry again that this column has to perform two functions, but it feels oddly fitting, in a way, that this is the way I end La Born Explains It All. I started out talking about how some distant figure affected me, and I end now saying goodbye to someone I really knew, who actually had a tangible effect on my life.

It’s been a helluva ride, and I hope I can continue to speak with you all and inform you of all the great entertainment on the way. Until we meet again, as the saying goes, “Happy trails.”

Categories: Commentary