If you ever watched the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral it starts off perfectly for the kind of post this is, a personal one. One that starts off with a series of rapidly repeating screams of the F word, in this case with a lot of 911 kind of prayers, and that wields a sledgehammer of mortality along with it.
I have long admitted that these are selfish writings I do, therapy for the ailing mind of a creative nitwit. So when I get these WTF moments in life I sometimes feel the need to share to just get them out and get through them. Some do their therapy through politics and ideals, I have no filters, so I can do them right out in the open, I can shower and wash my clothes in the middle of the street and scoff at the laughter because I am at least clean.
Now I know that everybody and their brother goes through this, I am not sure if it all goes the same though. At points in my life it seems as if a big culling of friends happens by the big guy upstairs. At one point in 08' I had 14 friends in my circle of people pass within 9 months of each other, family, friends and just a crazy assortment of people that meant the world to me. This last month I had another four, and the telltale hands of time and rumors says that I may not be done with this any time soon. Like I said though, everyone goes through it and grief is a baffling condition. This is about friends though and some thoughts I had about my own demise that were framed in a way I can't turn away from.
Last night I get a call from my oldest friend in the world, we have known each other since we were two. One of my earliest memories is a ginger headed kid grabbing my ankle and dragging me back down the stairs I had just crawled up. So he calls at five-thirty, this is the kind of friend that you don't hear from for months and years and pick up again like it is just air. He said I wouldn't like the news and I immediately went to his legal and other battles with the law. Nope, my mistake, it was about our other friend, our other hiking buddy, the Porthos to our Musketeers. They were going to remove his life support at 9pm, there is nothing they can do for him anymore. At 9pm they did just that, soon after he saw his mother and sister again. It was peaceful and humbling, it was also a sledgehammer of four hours that I am still working through.
Neighborhoods are like small town unto themselves and these were the guys from my hood. These were the guys who made fun of me, fought me, respected me because I had gone through what they had and lived to tell a story about it or two. We were the kids on the bikes, the kids doing lawns, and the ones that played in parks and forts and created a magical environment to grow up and speak about. The ones who lost the same friends along the way and whose lives were shaped by the same forces. The Pony-boy's and the Little Rascals, the Dennis the Menace's and the Red and Rovers.
We pulled up under the bridge at about 7:30pm, a light was on in the little RV in front of us. We had to pick up another friend of ours, the same as me a childhood friend that was always just there, I remember he and his sister at my fourth birthday party and the playing of pin the tail on the donkey. His brother couldn't go because he had a bloody nose that day and he took him a slice of cake when he went home afterwards. He was there with his girlfriend who has some health issues as well and hearing about his heart attack and diabetes just got my head spinning. Now here we are three guys and my oldest friends wife who selflessly drove despite her husbands objections. We had not seen each other in years really, the replay of the memory recall just clicks on and we were all home again in a weird way. We were all in our 50's and at the same time we were 12 again and 16 and all of those ages in between. We were sad, and we were scared, a sledgehammer was taken out last night and it started swinging. We looked at each other at one time and I could almost tell that we all were asking ourselves who is next? Not that we wanted to go there really, but inside I am sure bets were being made with our bookies of morbidity.
Foundations of life and belief are started with those friends of my youth. A core group of hangers on kept together, kept in touch. We moved around and eventually came back home to roost in a sense. Not too far from that home of our childhoods, the RV was parked about two miles away from the old streets, you live what you know. We were the Boy Scouts who grew up and hiked still together, the 40 somethings who wheezed and whined their way up the mountain early in Spring, and raced by mid July. Who at one time carried more weight in alcohol and ammunition than anything else and ended up bringing none when it all caught up with us.
He had no Family left here in the states, his German cousins will get the estate, he had neighbors and friends there and all that he held close anymore. He had kept this all very quiet for a number of months and did not call me to let me know. I was furious at my buddy number one for keeping this from me, but I had to respect it, I had to honor his wishes. He was just looking out for us again the only way he could, save us the grief and suffering, he was going to be free and with his family again. He had found and known a loving God and he was at peace. His face was gaunt and his eye sockets shallow, the waxy skin something too familiar to me and it just took me back to see him like this. I superimposed a living memory of a face on him and took his arm. I said my piece and peace, I held him for a moment and said I loved him and thanked him for being in my life. Within the hour he was gone from the outside and just living on the inside of me and so many more. I have many tales to write of and many stories to pass along, I had better take care of myself, I have an important job to do. We don't deserve to be forgotten, we are worthy of our own story and it shall be done somehow.
We are all worthy of our stories, of our lives and in writing that part of my own I asked my wife to do the same, keep it quiet if it happens. No memorial or anything, just get it done and pour me out somewhere. As this was happening and I am looking at the people that he loved and cared about, I may have to look on my position on that. I would have loved to have gotten the opportunity to thank him better, to forgive and be forgiven, and to have loved him a little more than I showed in life. I hugged my friends, the ones living and deceased last night. My oldest friends in the world and they hugged me back. We may not be together again like this and we know that much is true. It is as familiar as rain, and it makes everything glisten when the opportunity arises for good times. It is a sad commentary that we love each other too much to trouble each other, too much to talk to each other more, and to simply love on each other more. As time marches on and this thing we call being human gives way to that next chapter, the sledgehammer of mortality swings mightily. I hope that when it does come my friends and family can at least write a decent obit, and let folks know I liked words, and sharing my story. I have one to work on now for a friend, this is who we are... worthy.