This post has been modified significantly from its original form, and started as nothing more than the mention of a feeling I was having that ‘something big was about to happen’.
With nothing else to go on, I -of course- took this looming omen as an invitation for wild and fanciful thinking…
‘Perhaps Broadway really IS going to call in a final twist at the eleventh hour!’
‘Maybe I am on the verge of meeting the man of my dreams (even though I currently have zero desire to get to know anyone other than myself right now)’
‘Oh! Maybe I’m going to win the LOTTERY!’
Note to self; buy a ticket.
Well, I was correct. Something big was about to happen.
And then it happened.
On Tuesday, August 22, one of my best friends from high school was found dead in his apartment.
He died on Tuesday, I found out on Wednesday, and by Saturday, I was on a plane back to New Mexico for his funeral.
The time between Wednesday and Saturday was a blur.
I didn’t want to go to work, but I didn’t want to be at home. My whole body felt like it weighed a thousand pounds, and I found it increasingly easy to sit and stare at inanimate objects for long periods of time.
Having never dealt with this level of shock or grief before, I tried to move forward as usual; I got up Thursday morning to go to the gym, where I discovered that I was unable to perform the same exercises that I had done the day before. It was like moving through sludge. I talked with friends who graciously attempted to help me through my grief, but every part of it felt empty. Every time I smiled, it felt like a lie, so I just didn’t. I didn’t smile, I didn’t think, I didn’t really do anything but wait for the funeral announcement and wonder whether or not I would be able to afford the flight home.
I have never lost a close friend. I have never lost a close anyone.
Every time I think of it, it strikes me as so incredibly odd; how someone can be here one moment and gone the next. How not every departure is graceful or peaceful or met with ‘Bon Voyage!’ or ‘you will be missed!’.
Sometimes, things just happen. As a matter of fact, MOST of the time, things just happen. Things happen, we are affected or we’re not, and the world keeps spinning either way.
Time truly stops for no one.
I wanted to press the pause button on life. I wanted more time -extra time- to process what had actually happened, but there was none. So, I kept moving, sharing the news with friends who hadn’t yet heard, and doing my best to answer questions that I did not have all of the answers to. There were moments of laughter as we shared stories in honor of his memory, and moments of absolute full-body anxiety ridden panic at the realization that I was never going to hear his voice ever again in my own two ears ever again.
I will never see him with my own two eyes, ever again.
And the world will go on.
That’s the thing about life. No matter how hard we love, or how high we climb, when we are gone, the world keeps moving on.
Our time on this planet is so short, often too short, that in moments like these, it makes me wonder why I care about what I care about, and forces me to ask myself how I have been doing at actually living my life; not just being alive, but truly living.
How much living am I actually doing compared to everything else that I am doing in hopes that it will truly let me live?
And is it possible that love is a priority which I have been scoffing at for a good chunk of my time here on earth…more concerned with what I have to show for my existence, than existence itself?
These are the questions that I am pondering.
These are the questions that feel important to examine, in honor of my friend who is no longer here to do it for himself; what the hell is the point, and am I missing it?
I don’t have the answer.
I guess that is why I am still here.
I have to believe that when someone is taken from the Earth so swiftly and so long before their time, they must have known something that I don’t.
He must have been ready to go, on some level, and the best I can do is let him.
In fact, it’s all I can do.
I miss him and I love him.
Those are the only things that I am certain of in this moment.