Monday, June 7, 2010

Goodbye Thai

During a tridaily jaunt over to the jungle of SuddenDebt, I tripped over an announcement that my friend Thai just died of a heart attack.
What to say ??
Words are all we have sometimes, but they can be woefully inadequate, and this is ONE time, that's for sure.
I first "met" Thai (no, never seen him, never touched him, or heard his voice... that's virtual for you, right ?) four years ago on Sudden Debt, and HE was definitely one of the reasons I stuck around on the blog.
A little over a year ago, Thai was responsible for getting Sudden Debt's spawn off, Street Rat Crazy Saloon off the ground. I think he was concerned that our grab the ball and run with it explorations of science, religion, fractals, economics, the Ancien Regime, were going too far off into deep space for Hell's blog, and that opening the saloon would allow Hell to keep the ship on course.
And... WE got to do the deep space exploration in our small, private space.
The honeymoon, just launched days of the saloon were heady stuff for everybody.
And towards the end of MY time in the saloon, when things were getting a little tense, Thai and I had our occasional wrangles, but nothing serious. We.. ribbed each other.
In my book, we were very much alike. Thai had his fractal passion, and I, well, I had other passions.
I haven't forgotten that I'm writing this for other people, so here goes.
Even though I never met Thai, I BET that there are some things that I know about him, and I am almost willing to stick my hand into the fire, that's how much I BELIEVE they are true.
First off..
Thai was an excellent emergency physician, a dedicated doctor, with a very high idea/ideal of what it means to be a doctor.
He was very demanding of himself, and harder on himself than on anyone else.
Even if he got exasperated sometimes with the people who showed up to be cared for, he never treated them as numbers, he saw them as individuals, and he firmly believed in the HIPPOCRATIC oath, the one that doctors are supposed to believe in, by the way, and practice.
He lived life at 100 miles an hour, or more. He was exhilarated to be alive, curious about everything, and excited about finding out new things.
He was... a TRUE scientist.
He was an example to the people around him.
He was a model to his sons. Who can be proud of who their father was.
When the funeral service comes up, wherever it is... there will be MANY people there for Thai. Colleagues, friends, neighbors, maybe even a few patients, who knows. To say goodbye to Thai. To tell his family how much he meant to them. How fond they were of him. How he was anxious to find ways to please people, to help them when and where he could. How he cared deeply about them. How he was.... a peacemaker among men (and women).
I'm letting my imagination play a little bit here, admittedly...
I lost my own father, a prominent medical examiner, to a heart attack when he was 57, and I was much older than Thai's four children, but it remains a shock... to this day, some thirty years later.
Tonight thinking about Thai, the old questions came up again (they never go away, once you've been in the place where you first ask them...).
Thinking about just where HE is, an image came into my mind.
Of Thai, sitting (!!!) SOMEWHERE, with a big beautiful book in his hands (yeah, I know, I know... patience), filled with an undecipherable language on luminous pages. And Thai, looking through it... seeing all those fractals, and finally understanding them the way he never could when he was "here".
Kind of corny, I guess. But... it's keeping me a little bit warm, you know.
Goodbye, Thai.
I will miss you. I miss you... already.
You know, the older I get, the more death is an injustice to me, even if it is inevitable, and natural. We are all irreplaceable. But some of us manage to live our lives in such a way as it is even more evident how irreplaceable we really are. Thai was one of those people. It's what makes his death even harder for me to bear...


Edwardo said...

I wish I'd actually met Thai, but I'm very grateful to have known him even in the limited way that I did. Rest in peace, brother.

Toby said...

He came across to me as a sparkly, effervescent guy, a bit of a homunculus in search of lively and entertaining battle, but with a good heart. He could be infuriating, but despite that his basic good-naturedness always shone through.

I had no idea he had children, nor did I know anything about his professional life. My heart goes out to his family and colleagues.

Kathy said...

Hi Deb--I am Thai's wife. Thank you for your beautiful post about him. I know he really liked and respected you. He had talked to me about you many times and always fondly. I confess that I never really got the fractal thing either, but somehow for Thai it seemed to make order of the world in some way. And yes, he was a fabulous, first rate doctor and completely dedicated to his patients. He always acted with the highest integrity. He was the most caring person I have ever met. We are planning his memorial service now and yes, it will be packed. I'm sure it will not surprise you that Thai gave even at the end and there are now two people with functioning kidneys because of Thai's gift. We are so thankful that there is some good in this otherwise senseless tragedy. Thai was only 43 and has four beautiful sons 14, 13,13, and 9 left behind. I am doing everything I can to be strong for them as Thai would want me to be. I must admit I sometimes resented the time Thai spent online blogging. "Is Dad blogging again?" was a frequent refrain in our house. However, I have been moved by the tributes to Thai and now see that he had real friends here. He may have mentioned that I always teased him about his "imaginary friends," but now, like the Velveteen rabbit, they seem to have become real.



Debra said...

Oh, Kathy...
I wish I could look you in the eyes and give you a big hug.
I have been moping around the house for two days now...
MY family sometimes resented the time I spent blogging... but when I said that Thai was dead, my nineteen year old daughter... knew who he was. And she got all pensive.
You had an outstanding husband.
Have confidence in yourself. You WILL pull through.
After all... Thai chose YOU for his wife.
THAT certainly says something about you, doesn't it ??
Best wishes to you.
Keep your eyes and ears open at the memorial service, even though you will be exhausted.
It will keep you going for a long time.
People will GIVE YOU BACK what Thai gave to them, and multiplied by a hundred fold.
I call this... the economy of benediction and grace, by the way.
IT is what makes the (human) world go round.
Money makes no sense without it...
Once again... how do I know this ?
Because it happened to me, too. (Not my husband, no, but my dad...)

RKohn said...

I thought that you would like to know that The Thai McGreivy, M.D. Memorial Fund has been established in Thai’s honor to fund educational scholarships for excellence and intellectual curiosity in science, mathematics and economics.

To contribute by check:

Make checks payable to the “Thai McGreivy, M.D. Memorial Fund/CFNCR”

And mail them to:

The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region

Attn: Kenny Emson
1201 15th Street NW, Suite 420
Washington, DC 20005

To contribute online click here and designate the “Thai McGreivy, M.D. Memorial Fund” as the fund to which you are contributing (you will need to write the name of the fund in the third box).

(If the hyperlink above doesn’t work, visit the community foundation’s website at , click on the “Donate Now” button in the far right hand column, and then
designate the “Thai McGreivy, M.D. Memorial Fund” as the fund to which you are contributing.)

All the best,