NCR: RIP MattMarch 30, 2008 at 12:09 am | Posted in Random | 12 Comments
It’s had been 2.5 years since my last friend died. When G got a msg from our friend Jen telling him to call because she had bad news I knew what the news was going to be. Matt had died. These calls seem to come at all too predictable of a pace. Since I was in elementary school it feels like ever 2-3 years someone dies and usually, it’s someone young. I hate that I start to worry if I hit the three year mark because I know one of these calls will follow shortly.
Matt was a funny kid, someone you couldn’t help but like. He was sweet, goofy and was always up for a good time. In college G was an RA and our Jr year he got assigned to a freshman dorm. I pretty much lived in his tiny little room and for all intents and purposes I was an RA too. The group of freshman in that dorm were a fantastic bunch. We got along with all of them and spent a lot of time hanging with them. While we don’t see all of them all the time, a few of them were at our wedding, they were all invited to the after party and one was even in our bridal party. Matt was one of our freshman, one of the bunch that we still keep tabs on. He was only 23, about to graduate in a month. I feel honored that I got to know Matt and my thoughts are with his family and friends.
I hate this numb feeling, I hate watching friends die, I hate that there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I hate that when G and I were talking about friends who have died I forgot about one of the friends I wasn’t as close too. G hasn’t had friends die so it’s easy for him to remember the deaths that don’t have a debilitating impact on us. I feel like I’m at the point where if I start to list them, I’ll start forgetting people and that’s the worst possible thing that can happen. So, here is the long, list of friends who have died and their stories. I sometimes don’t remember them often enough and while this has nothing at all to do with cooking, it’s something I feel I need to do.
Mike – When I was little, like most kids in my area I was in a play group. Mike was the older brother of one of the kids in our little group. He was only 4 years older than us, but when your five 4 years is a lot. Shortly after our playgroup had dissolved and we were all in school Mike was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I only saw him once after his was diagnosed. I was at the grocery store with my mom, he was in a wheel chair and his face was swollen beyond recognition. He died shortly after that trip to the store.
Jen – I’m not really sure how old Jen was in relation to me. Her brother was a year younger than I am, but she was born with a severe disability, which one, I’m not sure, but I do know that she was bound to a wheel chair and could barely talk. She’s one of those people that while you don’t really know her well, when she’s around school all the time and her aids would take her out to recess with you, you get to know her, you may not ever speak to one another, but even all these years later I can clearly remember her being out at recess with us and standing by her wheel chair.
Melissa – Melissa was the first friend that died when I was old enough to really have it affect me. Her’s is the first wake I went to for a friend. I was 12 when she died, she was 16. I had known her since I was 7, we had swum together on three different teams, the only three teams I had been on she was on with me. Even though she was older, we had a bond because we had seemingly always been together. I looked up to her, she was the person I hoped to be when I got older. She died on Good Friday after going to Friendly’s to celebrate getting good grades on her report card with friends. They needed to get home for someone’s curfew and were going to fast around a corner. They hit a tree, she died on impact, her boyfriend, in the passenger seat died on the way to the hospital and her four friends crammed into the back seat came out with only minor breaks, sprains and bruises. I still remember what I wore to her wake, I remember not being able to go over to the casket because I could see the bruises and the wig from across the room. I remember hugging her mom and every year on April 14th I take a pause and remember the great person that was lost so many years ago.
Brian and almost Danny- I grew up in a small town. I graduated with 56 kids, 50 of which I had gone to school with since 5th grade or earlier, we were family. One day I walked into school, I was actually on time and was one of the first people to reach my locker. Ben was a few lockers over from me and turned to me and said “Brian died” then walked away. I didn’t really know what to make of it. First, Brian had left our school to go to the local tech school at the beginning of the year and second, the manner in which I was informed was surreal. When I walked into French class my fears were confirmed and a second devastating blow was laid upon me. One of my really close friends, Danny was in the dirt bike accident as well and was in critical condition. I couldn’t go to the wake, I had a swim meet and I did not want to be at the meet 2 hours away. My first few races I wasn’t even “there.” Then my coach, whose wife had died when his son, who was my age was an infant sat me down and talked to me about channeling my anger and sadness and taking it out on the pool. After that I swam some of my best races around that time in memory of Brian. Danny recovered, but recovery is subjective. When the best friends got on their dirt bikes that day they only had one helmet. In true best friend fashion, Brian gave Danny his helmet. They hit a log or rock in the woods and went flying. Danny’s head, even with the helmet was split open, but no one knew they were there. Danny crawled probably close to a mile to the newly installed CVS drive thru (right on the edge of the woods), banged on the window and blacked out. He was airlifted to Boston where is skull was left open for over seven hours while it drained. Like I said, Danny and I were really close, and after the accident we became closer, but that did not come without it’s hardships. Danny blamed himself for his best friends death and it tore away at him. One night he showed up at my house in a rage wanting to kill himself. He punched walls and scared my brother so bad I took him outside. We cried together then he ran off, he wanted to get hit by a car so he could end his misery. When he ran off and I couldn’t get him to come back I sat on the ground, pulled my knees to my chest and put my fingers in my ears and sobbed. Luckily, I live on a street that has about 1 car come by every 5 minutes at the time of night. I cried to Danny, I screamed at him, I called him selfish, told him I needed him. Finally, I broke through and shortly after I got him semi calmed down and in my room. My parents got home, I called his mom and my dad drove us home. I clung to Danny so tight on that ride home for fear he would try to jump out of the car. Danny was never quite the same after the accident and while his life was spared, more than a little piece of him died that day as well.
Josh – Josh wasn’t a super close friend, but we ran in the same circle during college and had spent many a night partying with each other. He was a fun kid. One night we were at our friend John’s apt, just stopping by quickly. Josh lived in NYC, but was on his way to Boston and was expected at any time. G and I sat down to wait so we could say hi before we left. After over an hour of waiting we decided to leave. We all figured Josh had either got a late start or was stuck in traffic. Not one of us was worried. The next day we come to find out that he was late because he had got in a car accident and had passed away.
Brandon – I don’t know where to begin with Brandon, he was like a little brother, he was my best friends little brother, my Jr Prom date, one of the craziest most fun people I have ever known. Someone who always had a smile on his face and a good time waiting in the wings. He was the one I was supposed to marry, at least that’s what I had told him since he was 12. He lived every second of his life to it’s fullest. Brandon spent time in Kuwait/Iraq and when he came back he lived life a little wilder than he had been before he left, but it wasn’t the wild behavior that killed him, it was his month old motorcycle. He was with his army buddies getting Dunkin Donuts coffee before they went to an awards ceremony for their time at war. He was new to his bike and skidded on sand on the side of the road, he went sliding across the street and slammed into a utility pole, the bike broke in two and he died on impact. I was away at a music festival the weekend of G’s birthday when Lacey called, she told me to sit down, I thought she was pregnant, but I should have known better, we were at the 2.5 year mark and Brandon was gone. I still miss him, I still pretend that he’s playing with scorpions in the desert and he’ll be home soon. I know that’s not the case. I know that I brought Lacey the purple roses he had tried desperately to find for her for her 21st bday, but was never going to get to give her. I saw him in his casket, I kissed his cold lifeless cheek, I still feel the cool tingle on my lips every time I think about it. I sobbed at his funeral, the one time in our friendship that I cried for Lacey while she sat stoic instead of the reverse happening. I glared at the news crew that was there taking pictures for the paper because the click click click of his camera disturbed the sound of muttered sobs of loved ones surrounding his casket. I waited until the casket was fully lowered into the ground, until the last glimpse of him was buried, never to be seen again. I go to his gravestone and cry. I wipe away the dirt, trace over his name with my finger and I cry for the young life lost, for the brother that is gone, for the friend I will never see again.
To all my friends who have left this world far to soon, I love you and I miss you.