It’s coming up on a year now and it still regularly strikes me how unfair it is that you are gone. I take comfort in the fact that you left peacefully and quickly and while you were at your happiest, but that only works some of the time. Other times, its strikes me as completely unfair and unjust and horrible. For those of us that love you, the world just won’t quite be the same again (especially your family and fiancée).
I see you places, just remember you being in those places. Grabbing coffee at the corner shop where I’d grab my black hot coffee and you’d get something iced and delicious and we would talk about business plans and dating lives and the antics of our children. Situated next to each other on the elliptical machines at the local gym, each of us with a book placed on the machine in front of us but neither of us really reading as we shared out-of-breath anecdotes and rolled our eyes with disgust at whatever hot guy would walk by posing for himself in the mirror. At the local dance club where you would sometimes have one too many and get all giggly as you danced and made out with your fiancée, so long as the song was right, a Britney or a Rihanna, or else you would stop dancing in protest at the bad song playing and remove yourself from the floor. I see you all over this city, and I miss your backyard barbecues, your stories about growing flowers and hikes through the mountains, and your raucous laughter at irreverent stories. I can still hear the way you would mutter ‘oh Lord’ after a juicy bit of gossip.
And it’s totally selfish (“You’re allowed to be selfish. You should be selfish”, you would say in response to that), but I want you around to celebrate accomplishments with. I want to call you up and tell you how well my business is doing and how I’m finally out of debt–you had such a beautiful way of seeing me as full of potential and strength and you spent so many hours in conversation inspiring to push myself harder and to not mope or despair. I want to tell you about my recent travel and hear you ask for details while you make fun of me for doing what I did instead of what you thought I should do. I want to tell you about the writing projects I’m working on, things that have been in development for years that are finally seeing the light of day, and hear you shout in triumph because you believed in me and knew I could do it.
I miss the way you didn’t pull any punches, and how you could see right through me with no pretense or nonsense. I miss the way you inspired me to only see the best version of myself, and I miss how you would lose patience with me a bit when I fell back on old patterns. I miss your computer brain and how I would have to remind you to think with your heart sometimes as see the world in more than black-and-white and how I would have to convince you that sometimes kindness and listening and understanding were the best approaches, and I miss how you would call me up afterward and say ‘Okay, you were right’ and I would say ‘Of course I was right’ and you’d say ‘Don’t get cocky, bastard’ and we’d have a good laugh and make plans to hang out again soon.
I miss how I mattered to you every day, no matter where I was or what I was going through. I miss how we could go silent for a few days and then pick right back up where we left off.
I vividly remember that Sunday afternoon, nearly a year ago, when I got off work and headed home and started cooking lunch when I got a random text message from a friend informing me that you had died in a car accident minutes before. I remember rushing to the hospital in a daze, unable to cry, and joining with your friends in the hallway and going into all-business mode as we found out what happened. And I remember how it didn’t dawn on me that it was all real until I pulled out my phone and sent you a text message habitually and then I realized that you couldn’t answer and weren’t coming back. I remember sinking to the floor behind a garbage can in a sterile hallway and letting the tears come for the first time. I remember standing in the hospital room of your fiancée as he struggled through injuries and a concussion to realize what had happened, a horrible blend of clarity and confusion, numbness and tears.
Even as I type this today, though, Kurt, I’ve got a dumb smile on my face because of what you taught me and how you changed me. I hate that you are gone, and I love the difference you made in my life. Someday I hope to publish something and put the words ‘To Kurt’ in the front of the book, and everyone who reads it will have no idea who you are but I’ll know. And I think somewhere, you’ll know too.
I remember us laughing one day about how kids in grade school can’t say love, instead they’ll say like once for casual interest and like twice for genuine affection. “I like you” and “I like you-like you” meant very different things, and we laughed about the psychology of what that means for adults who play the same kinds of games.
Well, sir, I miss a lot of people. But I miss you-miss you.
Thanks for everything, and know you are on my mind, regularly, and not just mine. You are missed-missed by a lot of people.
with much love,