This week I was reminded again of Ramsey Montgomery. Ramsey was a friend of mine here in Vietnam who passed away a few years ago. He was 40 years old and died, reportedly, from a stroke. This week another 40 year old man named Craig passed away as well, reportedly, from a heart attack. I didn't know Craig but word on the street of his death was a lot different from that of the coroner's office. Over the last six years here I have been aware of no less than three people who have died from seemingly mysterious circumstances for their ages - but a little street-side investigative reporting reveals something indeed not mysterious at all. Drink and drugs - coupled, if not preceded by, a massive depression. Another guy in his 40s named Rico went the same way - and we all saw it, in a sort of slow-motion train wreck scenario. Unless one sees it, it's impossible to understand the amount of prescription drugs in people's systems at any one time - or heroin. Another guy we know is supposedly smoking heroin 10 times a day just to maintain normality - he doesn't even get high anymore.
The availability of cheap drink and over-the-counter medications that range from codeine to uppers and downers in a myriad of combinations and less legal things simply does them in. They're all fine, and happy, and fucked-up, until they don't come out of their room for three days and the homeowner opens the place to find a body. That's become a common story of late unfortunately.
When Ramsey passed, I attended his funeral and met a lovely grieving family. At the service we were given the following Buddhist Funeral Prayer. It is lovely as well, and has become the most viewed post on The Wild Wild East Dailies. Please say it for anyone you may know who may be living in harm's way, before it comes time to say it too lately. As Amy Winehouse joins the 27 Club, it's a prayer for the times.