It’s funny all the things in this world that don’t have much meaning to them. Well, until you lose someone special to you. Things such as lightning bugs at night, a day that mimics a distant old memory of a moment you spent with that person, things like the smell of fresh cut grass, a color you look upon from an old clothing article worn, the sound of a motorcycle revving its engine, or the smell of an oil spill from a mechanics garage….
I believe these things finally retain some sort of meaning to us after we lose someone because we want so badly to be near the person who is gone…
I find myself wanting to see stars in the night sky and lightning bugs flying around freely. I find myself wanting to see a red bandana; I want to smell the fresh grass after a rainfall, even a certain smell from the mud beneath my feet just to catch a glimpse of a childhood memory I know is there and I want to just be in that moment again even if it is only in my mind. That sound from a familiar song that reminds you of a smile they had. I find myself wanting to lie in the grass gazing it up at the stars smoking that old familiar brand of cigarettes just to feel close to a memory.
You find yourself going over all the time and space in between the years that have passed. Dredging up, from deep inside, this solemn feeling of regret; regret that you have taken advantage of the fact that nothing lasts forever like you hoped. Regret that you kept telling yourself there is always time. Saying quietly next time I will or I always have tomorrow. Then the day comes when someone tells you that special person is gone forever. You realize in that exact moment of the receiving the news how wrong you were about time, wrong about how life is tough not fragile, and how you wish you could have made just a few more memories, just a few more to add meaning to all the things you thought were miniscule, things surrounding you like the sound of rushing traffic, a cotton ball travelling in the wind, or the smell of brownies in the oven.
My dear friend Drew is gone. He left this world Thursday afternoon and these are the things I’ve been going through the last few days. I am heartbroken and I haven’t figured out how to start the healing process yet. I do not believe you heal from loss completely, you just learn to go on in a new normal of existence with that person absent. This will be the first friend I’ve gone back home to say goodbye too and that is because I loved that boy so much. I have memories with him as far back as I can remember. I feel good about a few things. I feel good that he did know I loved him and he knew he was an important friend of mine. He knew I would have moved the world for him if I had the power. I feel good that I believe deep in my heart he felt the same. The streets we grew up on were tough sometimes. Life at home wasn’t always pancakes and soda pop. School wasn’t always a playground. One thing was always constant though Drew and Rachel running together.
I look back on days of summer when I couldn’t wait to get outside to my bike so I could ride to see him. I look back at the times he snuck to my bedroom window at dark just to say what was up. What a ride. Many people around the neighborhood and school thought for sure we would have ended up being romantically involved, married, boyfriend/girlfriend but it never went that way. I think he loved me and he knew it would have ruined the years of memories we had built. It would have ruined our friendship. He was right if that is what he was thinking. Our love was more of a brotherly/sisterly love than a long lasting love that goes into marriage.
I can see him walking though our old high school, sitting at a desk in some classroom, smoking a cigarette across from the band rooms annex, walking down Hanna towards my bus stop, smiling or giving me a hand gesture as I held a camera, I can see him sitting in the back of the bus saving me a seat, looking back as I was deciding to flee the hometown to better myself with him telling me to go and I can’t help but smile.
Tears start to fall when I am done rolling those memories through my mind because I realize there is no chance of creating new memories, no more conversations, no more pictures to be taken, no more time left….because life is so fragile.
Drew I will love you forever my friend. Save me a seat up there …in the back…I remember we like it there…