I wrote my first eulogy in the spring of 1997, when my Grandpa Light, my mother’s father, died. I wrote my second eulogy two months later, when Jeff Buckley died at the advent of summer. And I wrote my third two months after that, when William S. Burroughs died in early August. The girl I was with at the time watched my apartment when I went back to Kansas to bury my grandfather, then wept with me when Buckley rolled up on the shores of the Wolf River near Beale Street, and was trying to teach me Latin when Burroughs, the last and oldest of the Beats, expired. That summer, writing about the deaths of some of my closest mentors and friends while learning Latin with this girl so we would have a language we could share only with each other, was the most alive I’d felt in my life. We broke up by the end of the summer.

AuthorJohn Proctor