I am not close to my family. In fact, I am the one that severed all ties with them. I have no desire to reconcile or to speak to any of them, not aunts, not uncles, not cousins not a one. Well maybe I have a cousin I would love to speak to more. My friends over the years have been my family. I have an amazing foundation of friends, clearly because they still love me even though I’m an unconscionable asshole. It’s coming on another year since I experienced a loss that was so profound that I still feel it today as if it was that day. I’ve been in New York about 8 years. When I moved here I had made some friends and I do mean friends through the good ol internet. So I did move here alone but I knew some people for a number of years before moving.
One of these people was amazing. He was smart, hilarious, kind of crazy but he was my New York best friend. Holidays were always odd for me because I never really had a place to celebrate a holiday that was normal. By normal I mean I usually celebrated with friends etc. My first Thanksgiving in New York, I spent it with him. He had a similar background of difficulty with his family as I did. He made lasagna and garlic rolls it was amazing. His favorite color, in fact one of the bedrooms he was painting Yankee blue colors with the pinstripes. On a beautiful, I mean beautiful day I lost him. I was at the zoo and I had gotten his call. But I decided I could call him back in a few, however that was the last chance I would’ve had to talk to him. The sun was shining, it was warm but not overly hot, again, it was beautiful.
I got the call about his death as I was waiting for a cab to work the following morning. I remember hearing the words and not believing what I was being told and thinking how not funny this shit was. I got in the cab. The cab driver mostly regular drivers asked me if I was okay, I told him I heard a friend had died and how. Turns out he had that mornings paper. It made the front page. When I saw that picture, that story, my stomach dropped to the floor and I remember realizing this was real. If I had been standing I probably would have laid down on the bare floor and not be able to get up. I got to work I googled the articles and I was a sobbing mess. It was my first experience with the devastation of loss. I had never experienced so much emotional pain in my life. I felt lost, anger, sadness, emptiness, pain, and I was overwhelmed. The office sent me home for bereavement because I was a literal fucking mess.
The news articles were difficult to read. They didn’t help my loss in fact they made it worst. When it came time to go to the funeral, I wore my all black Calvin Klein suit with black stockings in the middle of summer. I remember walking through Penn Station from Long Island. I heard a song but it was the words that were sung as I walked that gave me chills and I felt like he was with me. Always and forever Luther Vandross.. the song was at the part that said: “everyday love me your own special way, melt all my heart away with a smile, take time to tell me you really care and we’ll share tomorrow together, i’ll always love you forever.”
It’s been years since this loss and just hearing those words I can feel my eyes burn. I got to the funeral and I lost it in the cab, because I felt physically and emotionally unable to face this. Funerals are a finality. They show you in your face, this is it. If you thought at any point that it wasn’t true, funerals show you in your face just how true it is that the person you loved is truly gone.
I stepped out of the yellow cab into the sunshine outside of the funeral and I pulled myself together. I didn’t cry once during the service, I didn’t cry after. I cried periodically behind closed doors at home mourning the loss of someone amazing that had so much to offer the world that was tragically cut short. He had my back, we laughed we shared. I have many regrets including not picking up that damn call. I’m not the type of person to regret, but I have regrets because I will never get the chance to share things with him. When I had bad days or even good we always talked and that’s not an option anymore.. but always and forever I will love my best friend and the memories that we will not be able to continue to share but I’m thankful for the ones we were able to make and I treasure those laughs with my life..