I was the last person to see and talk to Ron/Toby alive. I didn’t know him, but shared a moment on a beach and then called 911 to report his passing. I was compelled to find out who he was, and was able to do so just now. If anyone would like to know details of where this was and his final moments, please reach out to me and I’d be happy to share. This is what I wrote and posted to FB that evening, exactly a month ago today:
I had a profound experience this evening where I had a brief but pleasant interaction with an older gentleman on the beach who was collecting feathers, shells, and sea glass, and then found him deceased not long after – by all indications self-induced (after I called 911, first responders found a syringe and bottle of prescription pills on him). In our
brief conversation he was seemingly happy, and extremely pleasant. It was an absolutely beautiful evening, and the most perfect temperature of both water and air, and view you could ever desire. My guess is he decided for whatever reason (he was 80 or so
years old I would guess) that he wanted to end his life on his terms at a place, time, and means of his choosing. I respect the shit out of that, and can only hope that if and when I make that decision – or even have that option – I would be able to have such a dignified end of life. Rest In peace stranger. Poem by the one and only EAP seems an appropriate eulogy:
Thy soul shall find itself alone
‘Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone;
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.
Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness — for then
The spirits of the dead, who stood
In life before thee, are again
In death around thee, and their will
Shall overshadow thee; be still.
The night, though clear, shall frown,
And the stars shall not look down
From their high thrones in the Heaven
With light like hope to mortals given,
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.
Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
Now are visions ne’er to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more, like dew-drop from the grass.
The breeze, the breath of God, is still,
And the mist upon the hill
Shadowy, shadowy, yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token.
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!
I am shocked. I never expected, or suspected that he would pass away; not any time soon anyway.
I met Ron, before he took Toby as name, in the Russian River 1994; a whole quarter century ago! It seems like yesterday, and when I last saw him, about two months ago, he had not changed a bit on those aspects to which John Goldsmith refers above: empathy, curiosity, loving, sweetness, and peacefulness, or striving to be at peace with what surrounded him. And insightful, and a marvelous sense of colors and its combinations, and good video camera handling too!
Thank you Toby for introducing me to the Billys, to the Eneagram, and to your soulful art. You changed my life for the better. I will miss you, and you will always be in my thoughts.
Toby and I met at, possibly, my first Billy gathering in 1990- the Blue Moon New Years gathering at Heartwood. He was a sweet guy. He seemed to carry a burden of sadness at times. Do rest in peace Toby.
Toby was a longtime Billy and took videos at our early gatherings which were incorporated in the compilation video of early gatherings that we showed at the July 4th 30th anniversary gathering in ’18. Toby and his longterm partner, David Forbes, attended that gathering.
He was sweet, quiet, and generous. He would sometimes bring T-shirts he had painted to give to people or ask us to bring Ts for him to paint for us.
Toby carefully curated an arts and culture blog on fb for many years. The blog’s name evolved and is currently called, simply, Alive Blog. https://www.facebook.com/groups/638816299631068/
His heart and energy will be missed.
John Goldsmith writes:
My beautiful gay brother left this earthly plane this week. Blessings to Ronald Wiggin (Toby) for your passion, creativity and endless curiosity. I met Toby, long ago, at a Billy gathering and liked his empathetic demeanor and artistry immediately. We just had a fun coffee date 2 weeks ago…. and he made me this lovely star 🌟. A sweet, loving and uplifting man…seemingly at peace always. Continue in peace.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.