And if the darkness is to keep us apart
And if the daylight feels like it's a long way off
And if your glass heart should crack
And for a second you turn back Oh no, be strong
Oh, Oh Walk on, Walk on
What you got, they can't steal it
No, they can't even feel it
Walk on, Walk on
Stay safe tonight
And I know it aches
How your heart, it breaks
You can only take so much
He had in his possession every single U2 CD, single CD release, every EP, he has them all. They are in my living room. He wrote in his journal that their music gave him such joy. Throughout our friendship, they were integral, a cornerstone. We saw them together.
I'm keeping them.
The funeral went as well as funerals can go. His mom and sister asked us to join them at the funeral home for viewing. No one else was invited.
I can't even begin to talk about my thoughts and feelings upon seeing him there in a casket. It absolutely broke my heart to see his mom standing there running her fingers along his hairline above his ear the way mommies do to their little boys when they talk to them. I cried and cried and shit I'm starting to cry right now.
The tie I picked out looked great with the shirt that I brought. I thought they'd clash. But they looked fine. I was relieved. I forgot to bring the guitar to the graveside. I kicked myself for that -- I was so busy trying to get the program that I'd made printed that I braincramped and didn't realize until we'd gotten all the way to Beverly. By then, there was no time to turn around and go back. Mom and sis were so kind to ask us to come be with before hand. He didn't want a big funeral with public viewing. This would have broken so many hearts. It would have been devistating for people to see.
I'm glad people were spared that.
The funeral was well attended. I had hoped 200 people would come, but about 50 or 60 were there. People from the old gang at college, people from the college where we worked. People from the YMCA. It was a good mix of each of the three big circles that he swam in. The only circle not represented was the heroin circle. There were a few people I knew who would have been deserving to be there -- but his mom is really upset and didn't want to have them there. I can't say as I blame her in any way... I spoke to one of them and told her that they should go after.
I felt bad -- it isn't bad enough that they are shunned by their own family sometime, but a few of them were actually saved by his efforts. And they deserve to mourn too. So I told the woman I talked to that I'd go with her if she wanted.
I kind of feel like we're a bridge between two universes, Doug and I. It makes me so sad.
Meh. I weep. It's hard to really express what I feel.
The "program" came out very nice. The desktop publisher at Staples was super cool and helpful... and impressed with my work. I had to laugh. When he realized what it was he was kind of heartbroken and went out of his way to do it quickly so I could get home and ready.
After all that time I spent looking for the picture from when he lived with Gregg in Wilson hall, I gave up and used the one Naomi had scanned for me. Smitty called me last night and told me "I have this great picture of him playing his guitar in that room he lived in with Gregg..."
No. You're kidding me.
"Is he wearing a black t-shirt?"
"Yeah, I think it's a banana republic shirt."
He took the picture, not me or Gregg, but we each had a copy of it at some point... So Smitty has the original. I had no idea. So he's sending it to me. I know some people who want a copy of that... us chiefly among them.
I was on autopilot when I made the thing, and put the journal entry he had that I put here into the program. It didn't occur to me until AFTER Charles read it out loud that there were people there who didn't know about his drug use.
Oh my God, I'm such a friggin' IDIOT!
And it didn't occur to me that it might hurt his mom to hear, even though his openness with his own salvation and redemption was so clear. What the hell was I thinking! She didn't say anything when she read it. She was stunned I think.
And I'm kicking myself and kicking myself for not thinking. I thought the entry was so perfect and so explanatory. I talked to Gregg about it, and he expressed that while I may feel like I betrayed his mom by putting that in there, perhaps my big error may just do some good? Truth sets people free.
I hope? I pray.
We went to the beer works afterwards to do the thing he'd always told me he wanted -- he wanted everyone to get together for a drink, play some pool, and lift a glass in a toast. I lead the toast and looked out over the group, just about everyone who was at the cemetary was at the beer works, and I know how much laughter he gave each of those people. And it made me want to scream that he wasn't there and start freaking out, but I kept my composure.
The beer works opened the pool tables and took the panel off that makes you have to pay for pool, so we could play free. The waitress was hella awesome. The whole staff took us in and treated us well. It was a very nice gathering.
A lot of laughter, and a lot of fun. I talked forever with Bonnie, and we talked about how we always know the other one is "right there" all the time even though we don't get together enough and how that is a huge mistake. In the last 9 years or so, since Jessie was born really, the opportunities to be together thinned out. I had a baby, she was the urban professional rocking out to her boyfriend's bands... I was in bed at 9.
She's got a baby now, and her life is changed. And I have a feeling there will be more time together. I'm glad we didn't lose each other in this period of time -- the way we lost this week. And we have the time to regroup, renew, say the I Love Yous that we know deep in our hearts but don't say outloud often enough. It was good to have that.
All the buddies were there, Brian, Ben and Dan, Michelle, Dave, Tam, Gregg and Karry and Abbadabba, all the kids from the college, Jason, Justin, Ben, Doug, Julian (the piano player), Holly his old girlfriend from College came, it was so good to see her and her baby ... the circle was completed.
I had a blast, and I so know he would have been so happy. I left there with joy in my heart. I think in the end, we did it right by him, did just what he told me he wanted us to do. So I'm not the major cock-up I think I am.
I've talked to and gotten email from a lot of people who have just sat down and are re-evaluating what they've been doing with their lives, similar to what Bon and I talked of after the funeral. I have heard a lot of quietly stunned people say things like "I've let go of everything I once held as important and what's it going to get me if I die suddenly without reconnecting with friends, or apologizing, or having dinner with my mom..." so if anything, this time of reflection and personal repentance has come on some friends.
Me too. I picked up the phone and called some people to say out loud "I love you so much, and am so thankful you are a part of my life."
The best talk was with my buddy Gregg, whom I've felt very disconnected from over the past couple of years even though we spent time together and worked together. I feel like we were going through the motions. That once there was this firey happy friendship and now we're both just too tired to put in the effort. So it was a very awesome talk... and I'm glad to have had it.
So go, pick up the phone. I bet there are a couple people you have kind of lost contact with who you have always wanted to say "you rock my world and I love you" to... aren't there?
Perhaps it is your mom. An old boyfriend or girlfriend and you just have to let them know you're doing well and you valued what you had together and love them still but with that ongoing kind of love, not the I want to jump your bones kind of love. Perhaps it is God that you need to talk to right now, you feel disconnected from the divine, from the sacred. If that connectivity is clear and solid, all your relationships benefit. Whomever it is that you are called to reconnect with -- Go. Now. Do it.
Having no regrets is a beautiful thing.
And once you do that, Walk On.
Mom and Sis came to go through all his belongings yesterday afternoon. They left all the clothing and asked if we'd take them to the salvation army.
They left books & CDs and Doug said he was going to take them to second hand stores and whatever money he gets we'll donate to the YMCA on his behalf. His sister cried, because that would have made him so happy -- to know what he had left would go to the kids.
He has a palm pilot and a gameboy advance that he told his sister "I want Jessica to have these," a few days before he died and she had no idea why he'd want to tell her that then. Perhaps he had an idea that he wasn't going to be here long. So she's going to have us down to her place and make us dinner, and give Jessie the things he wanted to give her that she currently has in her posession.
Today is pouring rain. Doug said today that the sky is crying, just like Stevie Ray's song. Gregg said to me on the phone that the first thing that crossed his mind when we lost CAL was the Stevie Ray connection... the fact he took time to clean himself up, and that perhaps while we don't understand why either of them had to die so young, that God figured hey, I'm taking my boys back before they can mess themselves up again. Before they have to go through that again. I love them enough to remove them from their vessels, and leave a legacy behind which will bring a smile to some faces.
"The sky is cryin. Can't you see the tears roll down the street?"