most of the people you see in the picture above didn’t know each other a couple weeks before that shot was taken.  two of the women were friends with each other.  and one couple was married.  the rest of us were strangers until we’d all landed in the kathmandu airport.  that was really the first time i’d ever taken a trip like that.  so i didn’t really know how good i had it.  some of my fellow trekkers made an offhand remark about how on previous group trips, they hadn’t been so lucky, they hadn’t gotten along so well with every member of the group.  i had nothing to compare it to, so i might’ve taken it a bit for granted that we’d gelled so quickly & awesomely.  we really did have a great group.

i just found out a couple days ago that my friend, and the only other male from that trip, died last week.  phillip had been in need of a liver transplant for many years, but medical complications kept him from getting one.  coincidentally, the day after i learned of his passing, john richards (the morning radio show host at kexp) did his annual “mom” show, which happens every november 13.  he started that show as a tribute to his own late mother, but it’s evolved into this kinda amazing experience where the community that john richards has built up over the years comes together to grieve for their own losses—to find comfort through music, and a connection to thousands of people they will literally never see or speak to.  people email in stories & requests, and john reads some of them on the air (he admits that it takes him days to get through everything that people send in).  that this is possible—and so incredibly moving—over the radio, in the 21st century, strikes me as nothing short of extraordinary.  and wonderful.  you can listen to yesterday’s morning show in it’s entirety through kexp’s streaming archive, and/or you can see the playlist of songs on their website.

phillip lived just outside seattle (where kexp is based), and he was a huge fan of music (not to mention, a musician himself).  i don’t know if he ever heard john’s “mom” show, but i think he definitely would’ve approved.  i didn’t get a chance to send john anything yesterday, so this one’s for you, phillip:

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