“His Facebook status doesn’t sound good; he said the hospital has released him saying there’s nothing more they can do for him. You should write him a personal message.”
“What am I going to say? I suck at this sort of thing…”
“You should write him because tomorrow may be too late…”
“I’ll write him tomorrow…”
Then I got the sad news on Wednesday. He’s gone, outta here, deceased, kicked the bucket. Maybe I should have written him after all. Or maybe my message wouldn’t have been received, who knows? My girlfriend must think we men are the most self-centered, uncaring insensitive bunch of louts who ever walked the face of this earth. How could I NOT write him when he’s terminally ill?
A little background history is in order here I suppose. I’m talking about an ex-roommate of mine. I lived with the guy in between 1986 and 1989 in a 100-year-old house on a 55-acre piece of property out in the middle of nowhere. The perfect living quarters for a pair of loose-cannon bachelors such as ourselves. No neighbors around to complain about anything: loud music, gun shots and our non-stop partying. One could walk around our front yard nude with a pistol in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other and there was no one around to offend. Not that we ever did THAT but I’m just saying we were that far out in the boonies. And Gawd did we drink like fish; we had separate refrigerators for our food and beer.
I turned 30 while I was living there and that did affect me. Thirty is just a bitter reminder that 40 and 50 are lurking around the corner; you’re getting older. And it was during this time I had a near-fatal car accident (fell asleep behind the wheel late one night) and began to look at life a little differently. For the first time ever I stopped thinking of myself as indestructible and began to start thinking about laying off the series of bad habits I had acquired: booze and drugs in particular. It was also during this same time I told John he should quit smoking cigarettes because they were going to kill him someday.
“Fuck you” he would roar at me “Don’t tell me how to live my life!” OK fine I won’t. And well Some Day arrived this week and guess what? Lung cancer finally got him. And this is why I didn’t send him that personal message. What could I possibly say?
“HA HA; I told you so?”
I told him 25 years ago cigarettes were going to kill him and well now… they fucking killed him.
To his credit he found religion in recent years and quit smoking, drinking and doing drugs but not in time to reverse the effects of the years of abuse he heaped on his body.
John was a man of many loves: playing his Fender guitar, eating, cooking, laughing and spending time with friends and now all of that has come to a screeching halt.
If I could turn back time would I do things any differently? Sure I would but we don’t get that opportunity in the real world, just time to mull over the decisions we did make. And I still don’t what I would say to John if I had the chance except the world is a little sadder and a little emptier without you old friend.
R.I.P. John Hancock