On Loss and Finding Some Solace
I’ve been sitting here in front of the “publish” button for what seems like hours now. This being what it is, on a topic I don’t think anyone is comfortable with, I guess I should disclaimer this post by saying a few things outright. If you don’t think you can handle being a little sad today, or if you’ve ever lost someone to drugs or come damn close to you might not want to continue. Secondly, I don’t by any stretch of the imagination propose to think I’m being hurtful or judging by the next few paragraphs I’ve written. If you are easily offended or you think I’m doing this so more people read my blog or any number of selfish reasons, please do not continue going any farther.
Know this; I cope with my woes and uneasiness differently than most people, not better or worse, just differently. I like to think I come off positively enough that most people wouldn’t think I had a care in the world. But like all of us, I suffer the low of life just as much as the highs. I share those lows with the people I love, along with the highs. That’s how I deal. I’m not sure if that’s a good system of mourning or not but it’s what works for me.
So if you’ve made it this far I’ll start by explaining myself. The somber tone is to be attributed to some really hard to swallow information. A classmate of mine from high school died earlier this week. I found out yesterday. I guess it hit me like a ton of bricks. Now I don’t know all the details. But when I started talking to other classmates the consensus was pretty much the same all around. “Was it drug-related?” Everyone seemed to see it coming.
I wish I could tell you that he and I were close friends and I could paint a childhood of memories we had together, but that wouldn’t be true. I moved into school by 5th grade and met him in 6th. We had classes together, played some sports together, played pin guard in gym class. Aside from being a pretty funny cat, I confess that I didn’t know him as well as I would have liked. That does bother me a bit. But what really upsets me now looking back was the last time I saw him.
It was my class reunion. I vividly remember after I was greeted by the folks running the event, he was the first one to walk up and say hello and ask me how I’d been and what I was doing now. We talked we laughed and in that moment I realized that I wasn’t so freaked out by the prospect of seeing all these people from my past. He lightened my spirits for a minute and I guess that’s all you can ask as far as memories go. But the other thing from the reunion I remember was towards the end of the night he was pretty sloppy. And it wasn’t just from too much alcohol. Afterwards we all settled at a local bar and I know everyone was thinking the same thing.: This kid is in bad shape. We shrugged it off though, presumably to keep up a positive light to the night. And even at the end of the night when he tried to drive home some of his closer friends made sure to keep him company and got him home safe.
Now months later, I come across this sorrowful news. And I can’t help but think: here was someone suffering. This whole time he was dealing with demons and I guess it’s too late now but someone might have been able to help him. (I’m not saying there weren’t people trying.) My family is no stranger to addiction to substance. There’s a long history of alcohol and drug related hardship, on both sides. I’ve watched my heroes hit rock bottom and I’ve come damn close once or twice myself. I guess there are times when your ass hits the ground and all you can really do is throw your hands in the air and hope to God someone grabs you and lifts you back up. I look at those situations in my own family and I can’t help but cringe. Some stories are better than others, some of us are working our way up and some are in a downward spiral that looks pretty terminal.
Perhaps, it’s too late for my friend. But there are people in my life that could use a positive word from an older cousin or a younger one. Sometimes all it takes is showing a person you care enough about them that you made that effort. These are topics that are not easy for me to deal with. And I hate to come off sounding like a PSA but I feel horrible when I twist the situation back on myself.
When you go you don’t get to take anything with you. You just get to leave things. The most important after your family and friends is the legacy you set down. The tragedy of his passing was his youth and the way he went. I’m nearly 30 and the only thing I can think is that I’ve only just started living. Couple those feelings with the void I’d feel I’d be leaving in my wake if I went and what people would be saying about me. Sure I’d want it to be fond remembrances of capricious youth and nods to my life’s work, but I’d like to hope that I left a mark that was more than a cautionary tale.
Like I said this is sort of depressing, and I don’t have any quips I can’t tell you to look on the bright side and really I’m indecision as to whether posting this won’t just piss a bunch of people off, which is not it’s intention by leagues. Whether you have anyone in your life that could use a wake up call or you just have some people you haven’t talked to in a while, what’s holding you back? Life is short and terribly fragile. I have some phone calls I need to make. As for my friend and classmate: God rest him. And I’ll try my best never to forget the good memories.
March 10, 2010