Five years ago, I remember being in a room with two good men. One was Chuck, the love of my life. The other was Glenn, who was a dear friend. I remember talking, smiling, laughing with them both. It was a good day.
I wonder what I would have thought or said or done had I known that by the time of this writing, they would both have died unexpectedly, at different times, for different reasons, leaving behind different sets of broken hearts. It was the first time they had ever met each other, and the last. They didn’t know how much they were going to have in common.
It’s a weird concept that I was the only one to survive in that room, and some day (not too soon, I hope), I will be amongst their number, as will we all. Death and taxes, as they say. Inevitable.
Another strange coincidence is that I had told people about them both, at different times, and for different reasons, thinking that they were both alive, and then discovering later, to my horror, that they were not.
Chuck, I talked about all the time. He was a character. He walked through life leaving hilarious stories in his wake. He had a quirky outlook, and it was safe to say that if he didn’t delight you, at the very least he’d make you think. There was only a few hours delay between his death and my being notified, but during that time I’m sure I mentioned his name a dozen times. (In fact, I think the sheriff’s office figured out how to contact me because I had texted him, and his cell phone was chirping beside his body.) Not a day goes by when I don’t experience a jolt, realizing he’s gone. He shouldn’t be gone. Not yet.
Glenn, I hadn’t seen in years, but we were Facebook friends. We had been in the same college classroom together for two years, and he was close to me in age, unlike the many 19-year-old students, so we kind of related to each other. I have no idea why he popped into my head during my vacation to Utah, but I mentioned him to my sister. Just a few of your basic, “I have this friend who…” stories. After my vacation, I thought, “I should say hello on Facebook, and see how he’s doing.” And that’s how I found out he had passed away weeks previously. He was a good man. He loved people. He was a family man and a compassionate care giver. I’m sure his absence is going to leave a huge void.
But what I can’t stop thinking about are those times when, in my head, these guys were still with us, when in reality they weren’t. I would have bet my life that I’d be talking to them both in no time, and that wasn’t at all true.
They were both too young. They both had so much more to do. It makes me wonder how much I can really count on knowing, you know?
But maybe they are here after all. The human heart has room for many people to reside. And in my mind I’ll always be able to see their smiles. May they rest in peace.