I'm not looking for sympathy here. I'm just...well...I guess I'm just explaining how I feel because it's not easy.
Last night, I was out to dinner with my dad and sister to celebrate my belated birthday. My sister tells me first thing that a friend of mine from awhile ago passed away on Sunday.
When I was in grade school my parents divorced, but my dad continued to live in the old neighborhood for a couple years. Well, after my dad moved out of the old neighborhood, I had to change schools. I had just finished my 7th year of school, and was going to move out of the area I'd grown up in. To be honest, it wasn't a good neighborhood, but I'd miss it all the same.
When I moved into the new school, I knew no one. And I was a shy, quiet kid who had enough friends in his books, and didn't care if he knew anyone. But at home, at the beginning of my 7th grade year, I had met a goofy kid named Justin, and we had become close friends. It was at a time in my life when I didn't have many friends, and Justin and I spent a lot of time together. From my 7th grade year through my Junior Year of high school (I know, doesn't seem like a lot of time) Justin and I hung out a lot. When my mom moved out of that neighborhood, I would see Justin every once in awhile, but not often, and we grew apart. A couple years later, I saw Justin and invited him to church. We fell into our old friendship, and soon we were laughing and joking around just like we used to. But even then, distance and life eventually took Justin one way and me another way.
My sister kept in touch through some mutual friends with Justin, and he grew up much differently than I. I didn't see him very often, but I heard about him. Well, at 26 years old, Justin passed away of a heart attack of an enlarged heart. He is survived by his brother, parents and all 4 grandparents. The funeral is today, and I am going. I'm sad, but it's not a devastating sadness. I just think about how happy I am to be married to a wonderful woman, and how Justin died a bachelor. I just think about all the things we dreamed together when we were young, and about how Justin died before realizing those dreams. I remember talking about what we wanted to do with our lives, and Justin never got to see his plans and ambitions achieved. It's hard, to hear about someone dying at such an age. I mean, I'm 27, and I feel like I've been around for awhile, but I know I'm still a kid. (As everyone at work reminds me.)
I'm not thinking constantly about his death, but rather, I'm reminded of his life, and the time that I got to share in it. I don't have a good ending for this, so I'll end in an oft-used admonishment:
Don't wait to tell someone you appreciate them. Tell your parents you love them. Tell your friends how grateful you are that they're around. Tell your dog, for crying out loud. Celebrate life now, while you have it. Don't wait to talk about old times until the people you spent those times with are gone. Reminisce now...it's ok to do that. Well, I'm off to work and a funeral, but thank you for reading.