Only 17 short days ago they gathered to bid me farewell. My colleagues and friends from the community of nongovernmental organizations at the United Nations; my friends and colleagues from the Presbytery of New York City.
Ted was there. And after the words were spoken and the time came for people to leave, Ted and I looked at each other across the room.
We smiled. We moved toward one another. And as we had done before, threw open our arms and walked into an embrace, two bears seeking to engulf each other.
He whispered into my ear. Words of thanks. Assurances of prayers. Best wishes for what lay ahead.
I whispered back. Words of thanks. Assurances of prayers. Best wishes for what lay ahead.
As we disengaged, I said my final words. I refused to say goodbye as I left New York. And so I said to Ted, “Until we meet again.”
Only two short hours ago I received the email from the office of the Presbytery of New York City.
“In Memoriam” read the subject line. I had received enough emails with that subject to know what it meant. Someone had died.
I was prepared to learn of a death. I was not prepared to see Ted’s gracious, smiling face. Nor did I expect to read these words:
It is with deep sadness and grief for his family and this presbytery that I tell you that Theodore (Ted) Hickman, the Moderator of our Presbytery of New York City, died last night in his sleep.
Ted was 51.
My initial shock has given way to deep sadness and grief.
I grieve for his family … for Duryea Presbyterian Church where he served as the Commissioned Ruling Elder (pastor) … for his colleagues at NYU-Langone Medical Center … for the Presbytery of New York City … for all who knew and loved this good man.
I grieve for a song and life ended too soon. Too soon.
I grieve for what might have been.
I grieve for myself.
I grieve, knowing that, in life and in death, Ted, and all of us belong to God.
I grieve, knowing that love never ends, even death can never sever the cords of love that bind us together.
I grieve, believing in the resurrection.
I grieve and proclaim “Alleluia.”
I grieve and remember those final words I said:
Until we meet again,
my friend, my brother.
Until we meet again.
Note: the photo of Ted Hickman is the one that appeared in the message from the Presbytery of New York that announced his death.