I found out today that my friend Gilbert, who has been missing for over a month, is dead.
I did not know Gilbert long (though we were introduced in September, making him one of the first people I met in Edmonton). And I did not know him all that well, having only gotten together with him a handful of times. But Gilbert was one of those individuals for whom small talk was impossible, so the few gathering we had (two Sunday brunches in the weeks before he died) involved long discussion on morality and ethics, religion and atheism, art and culture, politics and justice, you get the idea. Gilbert went deep - immediately. And as a chaplain (one who spends all day everyday nudging folks, encouraging depth, and supporting openness), I appreciated this quality in Gilbert. Conversation with him was engaging and didn't require "work".
That Gilbert suffered with depression was something unknown to me until I read the article about his disappearance in the paper. How easy it was for me with training in this area not to pick up on the signs. And how well his warm laugh and welcoming personality masked his inner despair.
I did not know him long. And I did not know him well. But Gilbert was a man I had hoped and planned to get to know better. And I mourn both his death and the death of our friendship in its earliest blossoming stages.