A term usually used to refer to those who have left us or passed on, I feel it accurately describes my mental and emotional state at the moment. Having gone through a grieving process over the last several days, I am left feeling a distance between myself and my life. Everything seems further away than normal, it seems beyond the veil.
I am much better today that I was on Friday, when I experienced denial in a way I have never experienced before, convincing myself over and over again that I was wrong, that it was somone else who had died, I had heard the wrong name, the police had identified him wrong, etc. However, after returning to the place of our friendship and the people we shared and seeing them, the denial faded. Cruelly so. d that day.
He was one of the few people in my life who understood, appreciated, and enjoyed all my quirks. He was always happy to answer his phone when I called on my way to work, even though the time difference made my phone calls obnoxiously early. He was constantly emailing me articles about things he thought would catch my interest. He was always checking in on the family, talking to Monkey, asking about Lee.
His last email to me was sent after he learned about Lee’s Mom, and how badly she was faring in the hospital. It was titled “Anything” and read: “anytime. If I can do anything from here, let me know. I’m serious — if there’s a single thing here that can help, call me, email me, text me, send a pigeon, whatever works. Just don’t hesitate — I want to help. Tell Lee I’m sorry . . . Nick” That is simply how he was. He loved to help people.
I understand, on some level, that he is gone now, though I am still waiting for his call. I now believe picture id’s on cell phones are cruel, as I will never again see the silly photo I snapped during bar prep and programmed to his number.
I feel as though I am above my life, looking around for this missing person, separated from others in my life because of this loss. That is why it helped so much to spend time with those who loved him as well as I did, for we all have the same look on our faces, the same inability to fully smile.
His memorial is this Saturday, and I am sure it will be lovely. He was a strong personality, with strong opinions and an overwhelming desire to help those around him. He wanted to work with children, and he wanted to make the world a better place. In that he succeeded, he loved us all with a generous and forgiving heart, and we will do our best to do that for each other, and others, as we go on with our lives. He taught me a little more about patience, and tolerance, and having passion for what you do. He encouraged me to be my own person, with my own oddities. Every time I wear garish toe socks or ugly shoes I will see them as he did, something that was uniquely me, and I will smile. He would have.
My dad is right, dead people are rude, they never call, they never write, but they also never leave. I will carry him with me in my mind and heart every day, the parts of me that he helped along will feel more precious, more blessed, because they were influenced by him.
He did make a difference, and he did leave a mark. He would have continued to do so, had he lived a longer life, but it’s precipitous end didn’t erase his accomplishments, or destroy the changes he made in those around him.
I wish I could be there to remember him with all of you on Saturday, but I am going to stay home and get ready for this baby. After all, Nick was always trying to get his friends to have kids, so he could have more little people to hang out with. He was excited about this one, so I better make sure I take good care of him.