FAREWELL & GODSPEED, OLE SON
On Friday morning, September 14, I received the news from my good friend Fish Michie that Duff’s third try to receive a new liver had ended in failure, when his surgical team discovered that the liver cancer had progressed to stage 4, to a point that made the liver transplant impossible, and the doctors were forced to close, ending forever his prospects for a new liver, and a new chance at life. The first two transplant attempts had ended prematurely when problems were discovered both times with the donor organs, before any surgery could be done. My dear friend Duff was now destined to die, and very likely, soon. I remember the bitter disappointment and sadness I felt then, and how this sweet man had touched my life over the years. And the crushing loss I would surely feel when he would be eventually taken from us.
And now, only 18 days after the third and final attempt at a liver transplant, I received the call about 6 AM this morning, October 3, that Duff was gone. The sadness and feeling of loss was indeed crushing, and I sat holding my phone, too numb to even grasp the moment.
And then I thought, “How selfish of you, Joe, to think of yourself”. I thought of his family, and the thousands of other lives he had touched, and the loss to this world. You see, Duff Dorrough was a man of infinite kindness and love. His down-to-earth spirit and infectious personality could light up a room with smiles and happiness, and his talents as an artist and musician were splendid, beautiful gifts from God. I have been richly blessed to have known him for over 35 years, and have been inspired and uplifted by him on so many occasions.
In those 35 years, I shared a stage with him hundreds of times, and always marveled at his excellence and virtuosity as a musician, without question the best I ever saw in my 50 year musical career, but more importantly, his excellence as a person. I don’t think I have ever in my life seen anyone quite like Duff. In all the years I knew him I never heard him speak an unkind word, lose his temper, or ever fail to lift another person’s spirit, or fail to put a smile on someone’s face. It’s what he did, and it will always be how I remember him. He was perhaps the most beautiful personification of God’s love that I was ever blessed to know. I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love posted this morning on Duff’s facebook page. It is a testament to his heart and his soul, that so many people would post so many loving and caring thoughts.
And I know that the Delta, Mississippi and even the world will remember him that way as well, a very unique and special person. And I am quite sure that his last wish would be for all of us to CELEBRATE his life, and what he meant to all of us. He would have no time for the sadness, the mourning, only the celebration. As he famously said to the crowd years ago at one of Bo Devine’s Green Lizard parties, “Y’all, after the party, there’s gonna be a BIG party, right here at the party, so…. stick around for the party”.
I think that sums up Duff’s approach to life, and I am sure that he will find his way to center stage mike in God’s Rock n Roll Band, along side all the other greats that have gone before, and he will make them all better people just by letting his brilliant light shine among them, as it shown so brilliantly for us once.
I love you Jurl Durl, Ole Son, and I thank you for your friendship. For all my faults, failures and weaknesses, I know that somehow I am a better person for having known you!
Joe Seawright – Greenwood, MS – October 3, 2012