Stewart Byars

19 07 2008

He’s gone. He left us this morning on to his next adventure.

To my friend Stewart I give my favorite poem by W.H. Auden, long before Four Weddings and a Funeral gave it a resurgence.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

I will miss him more than you will ever know. More than I can express in words. Today is the day we mourn. Then we will remember his laughter and the joy he brought to us.

Stew, we love you. Then, now and forever.

His words:

According to “science”, they like to say that the universe started from a single pinpoint of energy. A pinpoint that expanded at an incredible rate. Remember this part.. a single point… a point from which the universe has continued to expand. From what I can tell, that sound an awful lot like a center of the universe doesn’t it? Yet, they also say that there is no center of the universe, nor an outside edge. Which are we to believe? That’s the paradox.

But, the paradox continues kids. Here’s another part that strums my thinker big time. If in fact, there is no center, and no edge, then how can there be a direction outward? Outward from where? You mean away from something? Like um… the center?

From here I leave the pondering to you. I don’t pretend to know the answer to these questions. I just continue to maintain that it’s possible “they” don’t know it either.

He had a beer at the hospital. He wanted one so he had it. He made me laugh one last time.

There are no words left right now.




23 responses

19 07 2008

Wearing my StewFest t-shirt and thinking of you all.

A beer will be raised to him at a more appropriate time. Like noon.

I never give internet , so a real one will have to suffice next time I see you!

19 07 2008
Aunt B.

Aw, damn. I’m so sorry.

19 07 2008
Joe P.

many condolences, ‘Coma.

and that’d a fine selection from Auden you offered here.

19 07 2008

I will wear my Stew t-shirt in honor of him today.

19 07 2008

You are all in my heart and my prayers (such as they are). I pray for peace to all of you just like the peace that Stew now has for his ravaged body. I won’t even try to tell you any of the trite statements of death – they are cold comfort for the living. Just know that he left you wearing robes spun from your love. That’s the best we can hope for really – to die like we lived – loved and loving.

Thinking of you today- and we’ll toast him too when you make it over this way.

19 07 2008

Condolences from East TN.

19 07 2008

Tonight, I’ll raise my glass to the Stewman.

Fare thee well and rest in peace.

19 07 2008

I’m gonna be digging through bins when I get back to Nashville to find my Stewman shirt. He spoke of being given a “It’s a Wonderful Life” opportunity…I can’t help but think of the line “no man is a failure who has friends” in this circumstance. I didn’t know him personally, but I considered him a friend after being at the benefit and seeing the outpouring of the community–especially his friend Newscoma. Definitely not a failure, any way you look at it.

19 07 2008
Don Jones

I liked Stew. I also know something that very few know about him, Chris Brinkley knew. Stewart Byars was an Entered Apprentice Freemason. 1st. Degree ! You ask, how do I know this ? I was there and assisted in conferring it !
I was proud to be a part of it !

19 07 2008
Kate O'

I love that poem too, and I know how much it hurts to feel the way the poem feels. I’m so sorry for your loss.

19 07 2008

I’m so so sorry to hear this.

He knew you were the best, most loyal friend he could have and there was nothing else you could do because what could be done, well, you did it.

I know that may not make it any easier for you at this moment, but he made the transition to the next life knowing he was loved in this life, which would make it easier for any dying person. You made his life, and his passing easier for him…the most unselfish gift you could have given.

I am so sorry for your loss.

19 07 2008

Stew Man is gone? I’m sorry.

19 07 2008

This absolutely shocked and devastated me to read today. I’m so sorry and my thoughts are with all of you. Let me know if there’s anything I can do.

19 07 2008
Kathy T.

I always pray for miracles, but sometimes maybe the miracle is one we don’t recognize. One year ago I’d never heard of the Stewman. Tonight, I grieve with you. I’m so sorry, my friend.

20 07 2008

Just heard about this and I am so sorry.

20 07 2008
TN Progressives Speak Out « The Crone Speaks

[…] • NewsComa: Stewart Byars […]

20 07 2008

I’m sorry to hear of your loss.

20 07 2008
lovable liberal

This is hard, and I’m sorry it’s hard. But if you could say ho-hum, the powerful wonderful joys of friendship couldn’t be so powerful and wonderful.

So you’ll need poetry and tears and solace and jokes and everything else. And there’s no need to rush trying to feel normal again.

20 07 2008
Mary Lindley

I’m proud to have Stew amongst my friends. He was a brilliant light in many people’s lives. When I spoke to him last month, he sounded so positive; it made you believe he would beat this…He’ll forever be in my heart and on my mind. God bless you, Stew.

21 07 2008
Busy Mom

Oh, I am so sad to hear this. I’m sorry, I’ve been out of town.

*Glass raised to Stewman*

21 07 2008

My best memory of Mr Stew is when I went to visit him on one of my ever famous road trips. We used to have a white convertible oldsmobile that I called the cruise machine. We drove up and down the streets of Union City with the top down and Led Zepplin literally shaking the speakers of the car. He showed me where his brother lived and where he went to school. It was an amazing day, and in the true Radyo image, we thoroughly embarrassed his children by driving them to the Dairy Queen for ice cream. And yes, the top was down and zep was blasting and we were waving to all his kids’ friends as they ducked down in the back seat. Stew, Zep will be there waitin. Blast the speakers as loud as you can, and remember Happy Birthday from Housekeeping at Myrtle Beach. We will miss you.

21 07 2008

Oh, ‘Coma, I’m so sorry to read about this. I’m sorry for Stew, whom I didn’t know, and I’m so, so sorry for your loss. I hope you had the chance to share some of Auden’s poems with him while he was alive.

22 07 2008

I am so sad to hear this. My condolences to his family.

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