Though I try to stick to food and the food related on this journal, this isn’t going to be a strictly food-related post. I have been too busy for my taste and am currently on the hunt for something resembling a 9 to 5, work-a-day world job that doesn’t involve mentally juggling three contract jobs and some freelance on the side. That however is not why I find myself posting at 10 PM on a Wednesday.
I came to mourn a friend. I debated naming names, but am concerned that some may not know of his passing yet and would prefer they not find out online, at a food journal. Suffice it to say that he was too young, too sad and not taking care of himself and all of those ended in collapse on a hot day. At this time, I am unsure of the official cause of death, but I personally suspect a broken heart and pervasive sense of having made too many mistakes to make it better.
In his passing, I have seen others’ perspectives of him and find that he was more complicated than I had imagined. I think the person I knew was different than the person others knew. I’m not sure how many personas floated around him, but the one with which I was most familiar was a nice guy who had some problems but seemed to enjoy his friends and was always quick to invite us to a movie sneak peek or to an impromptu gathering. For awhile we had a regularly scheduled game night. Usually we would play a card game until Julian, our son, had to go to bed. He and Keifel and I would sit around after Julian went to bed, just talking. But first, we would all have dinner together, sometimes rather fancy ones, and sometimes they were rather slap dash, especially when money with us was really tight. He was appreciative either way and always thanked me and always seemed genuinely surprised that someone would go out of their way even a little bit to do something nice for him. That always made me a little sad and I don’t know where that sense of being undeserving came from. As much as we talked about the now and the future, he didn’t much like to talk about his past and I didn’t ask. I’m okay with people having secrets, I just wish I had known how truly depressed he was.
He left Nashville last year. We had an impromptu going away party, because I love to throw parties and I wanted him to know we really were going to miss him. He ended up having to come late to his own party because of moving logistics, but we did see him. That was in fact the last time I saw him. We talked on the phone after, about his love life, the new job and that he wanted to be able to have enough money to get his own place. I knew the break up he had been through hit him hard, but I guess you can hide a lot on the phone and I didn’t probe.
I guess I do feel guilty some and pissed off some. Another mutual friend and I were discussing this passing and he said he had learned that you can’t make someone take care of themselves. I agree. You cannot shake or berate someone out of depression and into eating a vegetable instead of a chilli dog. Unfortunately, part of grieving seems to be getting a little pissed off at the dead for the inconsiderate act of dying. It’s an uncomfortable emotion to sit with and too scary or embarrassing to share. I think most people stew on it because you do feel guilty for thinking ill of the dead. But it is a stage in grieving and I think one you have to deal with to move on. I feel like I confronted it pretty early this time and I can feel it receding. I don’t fell better, just calmer.
I keep thinking about the time I found out it was his birthday and someone had mentioned how bummed he was that he had to work, he didn’t have a girlfriend (at the time) and that he was kind of dreading it. I made some chocolate chip cookies and took them to him at work. He was a little speechless at first, but thanked me. I had to run, but apparently he shared them with a few of his co-workers and got some enjoyment out of his birthday. I wish that, or something, anything, had been enough to make him care about himself as much as others did. I do want to believe in something after this life, I hope whatever it is comes with some clarity and that he can see now what he didn’t see before.