So this is it. This is the end of a partnership that started almost 20 years ago. This is the final nail in the coffin of a friendship based on trust and mutual respect. It's over. He's gone. It's time to move on.
Packing up all of his stuff and cleaning out the last of his drawers, I stand pondering the inevitability, the finality if you will of death. It's so clear so final, so concise and yet we spend most of our lives fighting it, fearing it, tearing out our hair and screaming against hope that one day they will make some sort of pill or anecdote that will prevent us from ever having to take that final step into an unknown land.
Leaving behind all that we have come to understand must've been hard enough. To leave your friends and family alone to suffer and to wonder why it had to happen to you. To sit in a corner of the funeral home as people you've never seen before and you're pretty sure he never met, eat cold cuts and discuss the great life of a fallen hero. That's what we live for, we strive for, to be remembered for what we did in life equally as much for how we died.
He'll be remembered as a man who gave his life for what he believed in. Most people wouldn't be able to do that. It's all too easy; he used to tell me, to pretend like you would do anything for another human being. To SAY that you would give your life over without a second thought to save the life of someone else. Then when it came down to it most people would back away from it. They'd conveniently forget what they had promised so long ago. Not him. Never him. He gave his life to save my own and now I have no way to thank him. I put the last of his things in a giant box and close the lid.
I know now that memories are the most important part of any relationship. You have to have something to laugh about at a bar or cry over while looking at old photos. Most of all we need memories so that after the other person is gone, they can continue to live.
Moments flood through my mind as I walk. My body is numb yet somehow I manage to make it to my car. I shove the box in the trunk and close the hatch on the past. Everyone offers condolences but no one really means it. It's the cruelest irony of all. People take you for granted while you are alive but suddenly you are the patron saint of nowheresville once you die. Just once I want someone to say, you know what I never really got to know him and I feel terrible for that now but I just want to let you know that I'm here for you no matter what happens." Just once. Instead I get the same pity, the same long faces, the same cold cuts, the same black clothes. It's all the same anymore since he's been gone and it doesn't really show any signs of improving.
G-d I miss him.