27 August 2009

One Who Knew Him

I had the pleasure tonight of having dinner with one of John's oldest friends, a guy who John met when the two of them were pre-teens and with whom John remained close until he died. This guy, Mike—no reason not to give his name—has always been one of my favorites of John's friends, one of those people who I imagine I would have been friends with in high school, too. As Mike pointed out, he's a lot like John, so why wouldn't we get along? So true.

Mike was in town on business, and my mom and stepdad were kind enough to watch Maddie and Riley so that I could enjoy a proper evening out. Great food, great company, great city, it was . . . great. I can be totally straight with Mike, and our conversation covered everything from memories about John to my relationship with my inlaws to my (nonexistent) love life to his concert pianist (!) girlfriend to what we're watching on Netflix.

We hit some emotionally intense moments along the way, some of which brought up some old anger and hurt for me. It was good to feel that again as some of those feelings have been dormant for quite a while. What really got me, though, was talking about how there is a relatively large group of people in my life who never knew John. I had good friends in Boston who I didn't meet until after John died. I have new friends here who never met him, and even some of my high school and college friends with whom I've reconnected never had the chance to know him.

John died too soon. He made me a better person. Some of my friends would have so appreciated his humor. Others, his compassion. Still others, things I can't begin to imagine. So sad, for him, for all of us, in ways we can never truly know.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

While it was nothing at all like losing a spouse, my in-laws died six weeks apart, less then six months after my husband and I married. Having our children five and seven years later was a significant reminder that we were both still grieving for the experiences and parts of our lives (and our childrens' lives) that they would never see. Life is cruel sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I don't come here that often, but when I do I am always glad for your blog. Bless you and yours, Snickollet.

Sadia said...

I can't comprehend your loss. I imagine that time makes you more accustomed to it, but the feelings are probably always, as you say, at least dormant.

For me, I think your story is a reminder to reach out, spend real time with friends and family, and not wait for later.

Anonymous said...

Grief is a journey that our enemy death imposes on us, so rudely! I hope you find comfort in friends, surroundings and spiritually. Thanks for your posts.

liz said...

Hugs.

yatima said...

For what it's worth, while I can't say reading this blog has helped me know John, it has made me feel his loss. It's made me wish I had known him.

Leah said...

I just wanted to say that as someone who met, knew, and loved John from high school onwards, yes to loving his humor, yes to loving and being amazed by his compassion, and yes to his dying too, too soon.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you had the opportunity to see Mike.

Heather said...

I lost my mother when I was 18. My husband and children never knew her. I spend the majority of my time with people who only know me 'after'. I recently discovered that a neighbor, whose daughter is friends with my daughter, is the child of one of my mother's sorority sisters (I'll wait while you reread that -- its a bit convoluted). Anyway, I met the woman (the sorority sister) and it was so validating. Someone who knew my mother that I didn't even know until recently. I almost felt like shouting "Yes! She did exist!"

Stay in touch with Mike. Please. When they are older, Maddie and Riley will get so much out of meeting him.

Jen said...

My mother died when I was 24, and many of my friends now never met her. My late husband never met her. But I've recently reconnected with an old friend who did know my mother, and I so appreciate that extra tie. As Heather said, "Yes, she did exist!"

Heather said...

Jen (from above...), thank you for seconding that feeling. I'm having a rough day today. I lost my grandmother in February. For 28 years, she WAS my mother. Now I feel like I've been orphaned twice. Feeling very alone... And there aren't many people who can understand that coming from a woman who lives with her husband and two children!

So Not Wishy Washy said...

While my experience is nothing like losing John has been to you - I know that feeling of loss and frustration regarding people who "didn't know" John.

I'd been told I wouldn't be able to have children before my Dad died but didn't tell him. Rather, I said that "when" I had a baby boy, I would name the baby after him. My Dad was one of the most selfless people I ever met. He didn't want the honor - he felt I was being "pushed" to offer something like that.

Six months later, I popped up pregnant, and my son Robert carries his grandfather's name. My only daily regret is that they were never able to meet. It's a loss I feel each day.

June said...

I have experienced loss...both parents, and four siblings. At the age of 13 yrs. she raised 2 sets of twins and 3 other siblings (when her Mom passed away at the age of 42 yrs), she'd been a "Mom" all her life. When she married at 18 she birthed 10 children. Mom was a very loving, understanding, gentle soul...and very, very wise. I still miss her, even after 18 yrs. I'll always miss her. It brings comfort to me when I meet someone who knew my Mom. My two children knew Mom, for a short time. So yes, I agree, keep in touch with John's friend - Mike.

OTRgirl said...

Sounds like a great evening. There's something wonderful about being with someone else who knows. Who even relates stories and perspectives you've never experienced of your lost loved one.

After my surgery, being cared for by my Mom's best friend was like living with a treasure chest of memories. It is strange to have friends who don't know what she was like, how much better at listening she was than I'm able to be. It's like I feel like my current friends have missed out, even if they don't know it.

amyinbc said...

John DID die far too soon, far, far too soon and I am so sorry for that. For you, his children and all who loved him.

I am however glad to hear you say he enriched your life. Besides helping give you two completely gorgeous children I am happy to hear when all is said and done he enriched your life.

You have gone through so much pain coming to this realization and it is so wonderful to hear his life so validated through you and his beautiful children.

John may have lived a relatively short life but he did good. Very good.

Clover said...

WAY too young. Its so unfair.
I'm glad you got the chance to have that evening with his friend and that the friend was open and sharing about his own grief.