I’m having a rough time of it lately. (Okay, we’ve already established that with the last post, but life hasn’t gotten any better since then.) I found out yesterday that a friend of mine from high school passed away. Until I found him on facebook, we hadn’t seen each other in 20 years. My husband and I saw him two years ago, just before he had gastric bypass. The surgery went great, he lost a lot of weight and was doing well. Yesterday, he died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 41.
For some reason, I feel the need to eulogize him. He and I weren’t really close – he didn’t know my deepest, darkest secrets – he didn’t even know that I am bipolar. But he wouldn’t have cared. Jeff had a way of making you feel comfortable no matter who you are. Jeff was so proud to be gay. Jeff even hit on my husband, whom he had never met until then, telling my husband that should he ever decide to switch sides, just let him know. Jeff was always laughing; I think his favorite facebook comment was: ROFLMAO. He had been through so much – lost his entire family over the past 20 years and still he was a happy person – he didn’t let life get him down. If it ever did, he never let it show.
I have facebook to thank, once again, for being the bearer of sorrowful news. First there was Tori, a sweet young lady of 26, who we hadn’t seen in six years. My greatest regret is that I didn’t talk to her more since we reconnected. I had no idea what was going on in her life. I knew she had gotten married, but I didn’t know her husband or what she was doing these days, or anything. At least a mutual friend of ours contacted us and asked us to call her quickly, I guess before we saw it on the facebook grapevine, so we were spared that. Tori has been gone over a year now, but it still makes me sad.
Next, there was our friend Jason. He passed away a few months ago. Jason’s death struck me pretty hard as well. He lived neared to us than either Tori or Jeff, and we saw him semi-regularly. He wasn’t a really close friend, but a good buddy. Jason was only 31. I found out about his passing while I was chatting with a mutual friend on facebook when he said, “Did you hear about Jason?” No, I hadn’t heard about Jason. I knew he had been quiet on facebook but I assumed he was on another trip. Jason loved to travel. He was always taking cruises – Italy, Greece, the Caribbean.
The odd thing about losing a friend that you interacted with on facebook is that it feels like a life on pause: full of half-finished conversations, one-sided games, missing pieces. The last thing I heard from Jeff was a message: “Hay sweetie, I’m well and you?? Sorry I didn’t get back to ya before you signed off.” Jeff was a vibrant person, who loved people, and they loved him. He had hundreds of friends on facebook, I simply followed the trail of status updates to his facebook page filled with notes of remembrance and rest in peace.
Jason’s death was quieter. Shortly before he died, he had decided to start using the facebook “poke” function. I remember his status saying: Jason wonders if a FaceBook “poke” is the equivalent of a “quickie”. Please tell me I’m not the only one who has pondered this. He started poking me daily (facebook style). I took it as a compliment. But I noticed his pokes stopped and his Bejeweled Blitz high scores kept coming up listed as zero. And still, it didn’t occur to me to think oddly on it – he’s just traveling, I told myself. Until I learned otherwise.
I confess, I have no conversations from Tori. A couple of wall messages buried back in 2009. I’m sorry, Tori. I wish we had talked more. Now we never will. Or maybe I’ll see you on the flip side and we can catch up then.
I miss you: Tori, Jason & Jeff. I haven’t forgotten you and I never will.
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