Geoffrey Bennun – The Final Farewell

Even though it is getting close to one year ago when Geoffrey died, I am amazed at how many people each week still visit this blog to read some of the posts that were shared by a lot of people.  I don’t think that Geoffrey had any idea of the ripple effect he caused through a lot of people’s lives.

This week, by coincidence, I had dinner at a restaurant where Geoffrey and I ate last year and then 2 days later  was in the restaurant where we celebrated his 60th birthday. So he has been in mind all week.  At the restaurant where I had dinner, I saw the young waitress that Geoffrey really gave shit to because she didn’t clear away his plate fast enough.  The fact that it was a casual Dutch restaurant where they get to these things in their own time was irrelevant.  This was followed by a 15 minute conversation during which he found out that if he had tried to make it an issue she would have told him to “Fuck Off” (very female Dutch), found out how much a week she made in tips and also enquired that if he had a Rolls Royce at the door a 5 grams of coke in his pocket, would he stand any chance of seeing her naked – with a huge grin she told him that nothing in life is impossible.  So I had the opportunity to talk to her and as soon as I pointed to the table and mentioned the conversation she immediately remembered.  She was shocked to hear what had happened and we had a really nice conversation.  I think she summed it up very nicely, she described Geoffrey as having a “unique charisma”. 

All of this prompted me to finally email Geoffrey’s best friend – Doug and ask if I could post his last email on Geoffrey’s final farewell to the world, which he willing agreed and is below.  For those of you who don’t know in Geoffrey’s will he asked to have his ashes spread at 5 different locations around the world.  Each of those locations meant something special to Geoffrey.  At each location friends of Geoffrey’s gathered for ‘Dinner with Geoffrey’, where there was great food, great wine and many stories and tears shared.  Following the evening Doug would then spread some of Geoffrey’s ashes in the requested location.  Doug has now completed those 5 trips, the 5 dinners have been held and everyone has said goodbye.  I thought for those of you who have not seen Doug’s last email, you would enjoy reading the final farewell.  Thank you Doug for allowing this to be posted.

Dear all,

This is way overdue.

I have started and stopped and started this email a few times.

This is the last email on the last stop of Geoffrey’s places he wanted to be a part of.

Of all the places he wanted to be remembered, this was his most intense request. To have his ashes connected in the same place as his sister Yogesha. “Douglas” he would say.. (he never called me Doug my whole life) “Douglas, you have to make sure it’s the same beach as my sister!” “Gypsy and Jai will know the one but promise me. Ok!?”

He would go on and on about it like he did most things. That’s how we all know the same stories when it comes to Geoff…he told them over and over right!

After a very long hard fun night before at the Empress Dinner with Geoff, it was time to head to Salt Spring. Sunday Nov 6/10

It was a glorious day. Absolutely beautiful which is really amazing because it rains in the Pacific Northwest from October to March. It was raining the night before.

The Empress hotel sits on the Inner Harbor in Victoria. And that morning there was a rainbow over the Harbor that had the most intense clear colors you have ever seen. Not the faded slightly washed out version …crystal clear and vibrant on a cloudless sky. Incredible.

May have mentioned in previous e-mails that this type of thing just happens…don’t believe in “signs” and a higher spiritual calling, but that’s a hell of a coincidence a rainbow like that on this special day don’t you think?

And so we got in the cars and vans and headed to the Ferry to Salt Spring Island. Its a stunning part of the world. We all followed Jai so we wouldn’t get lost finding his home from the Ferry terminal. We would have for sure because we were all so fuzzy from the night before that no one remembered to bring a map of how to get there. Everyone thought someone else had a map.

We arrived at the family home. So warm and comfortable. Got together glasses and champagne to take to the beach for our farewell toast.

And down to the beach we all went. There were children playing, a dog barking.. a deer went by.

Hard to describe the emotions of the group. Very intense. Great sadness and grief blended with contentment that we were doing the right thing. Happy we were together I believe. The anger that was so overwhelming when first hearing how Geoff died came back to me briefly. Then closure.

We said our last words remembering Geoff. We cried. We held hands in a circle and observed silence in his honor.

And into the cold waters.

Well Geoffrey, we got the right beach.

And all your friends from around the world came and had a good laugh and drank some wine and told stories about you, just like you wanted. Everyone agrees you were a real character! One of a kind for sure.

Good Bye Geoffrey.


2 thoughts on “Geoffrey Bennun – The Final Farewell

  1. Best of all that a year later we can still remember our feelings for Geoffrey with the same intensity that we felt when he was still with us . james

  2. I worked with Geoff at Aetna Factors in Montreal back in the early 70’s. He and I partied quite a lot together and Geoffrey was always looking out for female companionship. Geoff became a crazy fan of the Montreal Expos baseball club and we went to about 100 games together. There are photos of Geoff on Facebook from those days, if you are interested.

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