A friend died….

This blog has been sitting for over a month in my drafts. And I’m finally up for sharing it. Words cannot express and it was difficult to make the leap in sharing a meager attempt…but here it is.

I have been fairly reclusive since closing my theater in 2003. I mean, I’ve gotten married in those years, but my husband will attest to the fact that I do not leave the house. Hell, we met on the internet and our first date was in my house. I tried my damnedest to have our wedding at my parents’ house. And before the theater, not so social then, either. I’m just a recluse by design.

The internet has been my way to socialize and not have to challenge my low threshold for interaction. And until now, it has worked famously. On the down side, I have missed a considerable amount of living in that time. Friends have gotten married, had kids, moved into houses, gotten new jobs, had birthdays for their kids, gotten sick, gotten better, and one has died.

This friend’s name is Brendon. I knew him in high school and I always saw him as a male version of me -a misfit, bespectacled, puffy hair, years from our prime. We reconnected on Facebook last year the way people do. A friend request, a couple emails and then the occasional comment on an update. No real bonding, but I, of course, went through every photo and comment and saw that he had not changed much except an indescribable “cool” factor had set in, at least facebook cool. Clever guy. Sharp as nails. His profile one-liners made me jealous. Why didn’t *I* call myself and anarcho-communist? That’s so me! Non-practicing Zen Catholic totally beats my Christian Atheist. I had no idea what he had done in those 20+ years since graduation except what he shared on the blue and white screen. I loved the days I’d see a status update or link to an old school punk video. He was fun to read. A recluse’s perfect peripheral friend.

At some point the updates stopped. In fact, very shortly after we reconnected, they were gone. I didn’t think much of it. People, unlike me, got lives, stopped being on some stupid social networking site day in and day out. And my FB friends were growing…the Brendon updates could be getting buried. But bummer. I liked his style.

Last week, I was surfing Facebook and saw a mention of Brendon that made me curious and go to his page. And he was gone. Updates were all from friends and family mourning their loss. He died in November.

Grieving is a strange thing. When it is someone close to you, the loss is unbearable, deep, and all-consuming. When it is a distant relationship, the grief is still profound, but the heart doesn’t hurt to heal as much as it opens to emotion. And the mind doesn’t shut down, it hyper-reacts. My first reaction was regret. This man seemed so fascinating. So fun. And I let the opportunity to know him pass. My second reaction was fear. A man my age. A man I once saw as a mirror image of what I saw inside of me. I lost the opportunity to know him, but there is a very real possibility I could lose the opportunity to know anyone, everyone, and even myself. And now, I am lingering in the third reaction: asking why.

I don’t usually ask why, I am an atheist and “why” doesn’t quite fit into my realm of needs except on the rare occasion something uncanny happen. This happened to be an uncanny incident. I found out almost 8 months after it happened. And while I would do anything to have found out at the time, the timing ends up quite profound.

I am in a crossroads in my life with a house I love in one state and a job I love in another state. The man I love is in both states, but this year spending more time in the state with the house. I’m in the state with the job. It’s straining. As a young woman I used to joke that this exact situation would be ideal, but now that it’s a reality, I see that when you fall in love, you have this unexpected desire to be with the person. Maybe only unexpected to me.

The geographic crossroads has led me to ponder my current job. It’s unique, it’s fun, it’s me. My day job skills are widget making paper pushing so in my current job, in all its unorthodoxy, I’m sitting next to the creatives. We banter, we joke, I get to wield left brain skills and enjoy a dabble in right brain antics. It’s the only place my brain doesn’t get a severe case of ADD from lack of stimulation. I’m pretty sure few careers could be as good of a fit. And yet, I’m also pretty sure those few careers exist. And with my long history of having a messiah complex, I’m pretty sure at least one of those few careers has a bit more spiritual progress than my current job.  Although some would argue sexual satisfaction is quite spiritual, so maybe I should say more “world saving.”

So here I am, wondering why some go from this planet with so many emotional, spiritual and wonderful gifts yet to give while others piddle away their (our?) days with minimal interaction, minimal commitment, and minimal world saving. And am I being grandiose in my “new thinking”? What is more self centered? Thinking you can live your life in mediocrity (no matter how fun and entertaining) or thinking you can raise the world to greatness in a single geographic move and resume blast?

If I think I should do “more,” what the hell more do I need to do? My husband often says being a good person is more than many do and more helpful than most know. And that is so true. I can do that now. I don’t have go much outside my comfort level. Well, I may have to be nicer to stupid and lazy people..god, how I hate stupid and lazy people. And I may have to actually get off my chair and socialize. But other than that, not too difficult. No need to move or change jobs, that’s for sure.

But I feel like a message was in that peripheral loss. Profound message. And it may be a profound but simple message “appreciate those around you.” Or it may mean I should toss on a nun’s habit and feed starving children in a third world country. Or it may be no message at all. Just a random loss without meaning or message. That the only way to live with it is to find meaning where no meaning lies. I have no answer. I have no tidy bow to put around this post. I only have questions.

What IS the meaning of life? And why do we spend our days looking for it instead of doing it? If some grand creator made us to fulfill a purpose, why not tell us? Why make so many of us search for that spiritual road map until we are breathing our last breath? Why does it seem that map finally appears as we close our eyes for the last time? What kind of omnipotent child creates a race of people who have no idea what to do or how to do it? What should I do? What should you do? What in the world can fill our days to the point of change?

Now that this post has been sitting in my drafts folder for all this time, the mood has shifted to one final conclusion. It actually ended up getting a bow to tie it up quite nicely. I have become a happier person. I have certainly allowed a certain level of cranky, dare I say cantankerousness, to stay within me, but I look at the world with a little more humor, a little more…anarchy. I think Brendon, what little I know him, would “like” that just before posting another Butthole Surfers interview.

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