I just read of the death of Donald Michael Kraig on The Wild Hunt. I had a strange feeling last night after rituals and such that Liberalia wouldn’t be entirely “happy” this year…
In all honesty, I don’t know much about him. I have never read any of his books (though I think he’s written a preface or two of other books I’ve read), didn’t know his work or his life much, and never attended one of his sessions at PantheaCon. I saw him and certainly recognized him about the place after hearing of him for several years…
But, a couple of years ago, I was giving a session in a room, and he was the next session in it afterwards. Our session was over, and we were in the short interval between PantheaCon sessions, and people were still wanting to talk with me and such. He came in with his bag of things, and I remember he said “Hello!” and was very friendly in just that single word. I was on my way out, and said “Hello, how’s it going with you?” and he said something like “Fine, thanks.” And that was about it.
Now, that may not seem like much, but as it was the only personal contact I had with him, it was always what I thought of when I read his name on The Wild Hunt or elsewhere, or saw one of his books in a shop, and so forth.
Perhaps it’s little incidents like this upon which one’s true character comes out. This could have been the most casual, throwaway moment for any one of us, and I know I’ve not always been as friendly or open in my greetings to others (being–some of you may not believe this, but it’s true–rather shy, introverted, retiring, and reticent by nature in interpersonal situations…until I get to know someone!), but there was something about him, about the way that he looked at me in that moment with a kind of unblinking gaze that told me he was fully present in that moment…it’s enviable, it’s admirable, and it’s something I’ll not forget anytime soon.
I’m sad to hear of his death, and was saddened a few months back when I heard the specifics of his condition, as pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult varieties to survive. I hope that all of his family, friends, students, and admirers have the peace and strength of all of their gods with them during this difficult time, and I hope that Donald himself is being well-looked-after by his ancestors and powers at this point.
Ignis Corporis Infirmat; Ignis sed Animae Perstat.