10 years ago, my best friend died, at the ripe old age of 23. I figured that was pretty much it in the painful death department. I was so wrong.
A week and a half ago, my darling boyfriend, my most wonderful man, lost his dad. It was completely unexpected, and completely horrible.
I pride myself on the being the person who knows what to do, on being the person people call when things go wrong. I rush to whomever's side and help pick up the pieces. Never before have I felt like I was picking up pebbles with a butterfly net. He called me at 7 in the morning and, sounding like a lost little boy, told me his dad had died. What do I do? What do I do?!?! I don't know how to make this less god awful for him. I have visions of hugging him so hard that some of his pain gets wrung out, but it doesn't really work like that does it?
So I did his laundry. I plugged in his ipod and helped him pack. And I went down south with him, and waited, quietly. I don't think I have ever witnessed such heartbreak up close before. At least not in someone who I love this much.
I think back to 10 years ago, and feel such heartfelt sympathy for my parents, who had to watch me while it all fell apart around me. I can't think of my friend Micheal's family for too long, because even 10 years later, it's easy to be blindsided by what we have lost.
I didn't know this man very well. As we all know, I just met him for the first time last year. I do know that in a time when I was scared to death (meeting the family), he was kind to me. Unfailingly kind. I know that he made me laugh, and he treated me as if I was there all along.
I know that my wonderful man is just like his dad. I know too, that his dad was proud to bursting - you could tell from looking.
The worst part of it all, not just the loss, not the heartbreak, but the knowledge that we have such wonderful plans for our life and our family, and he will not see this amazing life come to fruition. I find it so sad to think that our future awesome kids (oh, they're gonna be awesome) will not know their grandfather, that they will not see the original, the reason that their dad is who he is.
I tried really hard not to cry in front of people, especially my darling, his sister, his stepmom. It was so hard. It was basically a nightmare, and I can't even imagine it from the perspective of the children, the wife. I was desperate for something to do, some little thing I could keep busy with, so I didn't have be a witness to it all.
It wasn't all horror movie, there was some comedy in there too. I met EVERBODY, the entire family, aunts, uncles, cousins, even the grandmother. Yeah, grandma and I wore the exact same outfit to the funeral. See? Comedy.
I fell in love with this family. They treated me like family, for the good, the bad and the ugly. And the thing that struck a chord with me is this - we are all the same. Our families, they are all the same. The same drama, the same laughs. So may I respectfully request; go call your parents. You know they want to hear from you.
I spoke to my parents often during the week, except for a few days in between, when they were stuck in an open boat for 12 hours. Can't even make this shit up. Someday, I will tell you that story, but for today, the story is someone belongs to my quiet, hard working, awesome fella, and the man who made the shoes for him to fill.