I heard about it on Saturday, but it really didn’t sink in. It wasn’t possible. He was younger than I am. And anyway, there was no announcement on the bulletin board. But I heard it from Sandra, and then I heard it from Jadighs at the 7-11. Today the announcement went up on the bulletin board. Phil had died in his sleep Saturday.
Phil was the spark-plug of this building. He was always upbeat and smiling, despite being a multiple amputee. He had lost both his legs and all his fingers. Friday couldn’t go around him because he’d had a kidney transplant. And yet, he was alway busy.
He volunteered. He organized the holiday dinners we had here. He would cook the biggest part of them. He had been a chef before he was disabled, so we ate very well at the dinners. He was an accomplished pianist, and played the piano in the community room a lot. You would hear the music, go in and find Phil playing. Despite the loss of all his fingers. He played better with his stubs than a lot of people do with all ten fingers. He was always in a hurry. His wheelchair was set to Warp 5 and he went everywhere that way. Often you would find him in the lobby with a bunch of the other men, chewing the fat.
He was also good at hooking you up to any resources you needed. And helping you to say the right words to get what you needed. I know he coached several people in order to get them the wheelchairs they needed. I will miss Phil. He would have been planning a Memorial Day Barbeque right now. He may not have had legs, but he leaves some mighty big shoes to fill anyway.