Wednesday, October 14, 2015

don't go towards the light / I wish you hadn't / stay here with us

Huge downer post.  I'm not looking for sympathy with this post, but sometimes writing things down helps me cope.

On Monday my co-worker Mike didn't show up for work.  We sent him a text, and didn't get a reply.  Nothing.  Not a call, not a text, not an email.  So that was weird.  We weren't sure what was up.

Tuesday morning I was driving to work when my phone rang.  It was Mike.  Mike never ever calls me, so I knew something must be up.   But I was scared to pick up, I don't have a hands-free device, I hate talking on the phone, etc.  A few seconds later I listened to the voicemail that was left for me.  It was from Mike's girlfriend.  She asked me to call her, and I was scared.  I called her back and she let me know that she had tried calling Mike the day before and he hadn't picked up.  And he hadn't returned her phone call.  She stopped by his place to check in on him and found him dead.  She was telling me this story as I was driving.  All I could think/say was WHAT? OH MY FUCKING GOD.  NO.  OH NO. NO NO NO NO NO.  I AM SO SORRY.  WHAT THE FUCK.  OH MY FUCKING GOD.  NO.  NO!  NO.  We were both bawling and crying and trying to talk and listen and understand.  It was just terrible. 

Bottom line, Mike was a guy I worked with and was friends with for about 10 years.  A good guy.  A great guy.  I can't begin to sum him up in a few sentences, a few paragraphs, a blog post.  But I feel like all of my insides have been sucked out of my body and thrown against a brick wall every time I think/realize/remember that he is gone.  For good.  It just hurts so much. 

I am friends with Mike's girlfriend (we all used to work together -- she and he first met while we worked together) and she is in a world of pain.  I am trying to help.  Trying to be there.  Trying.  It's so hard. 

At this point we don't know exactly what Mike died from.  I don't know when the funeral arrangements will be, or if there will be a funeral or a memorial.  In the meantime I have had to tell colleagues about the situation.  Every single one wants to hear the whole story, they ask the same questions, they want the same answers.  And I don't have them.  And every time I have to tell the story I crumble and bawl, and I just can't take it anymore.  Everybody loved him.  Respected him.  Everybody wants answers and wants to talk it all through.  It has been rough.

But his girlfriend?  She had to tell all of his friends and family.  She has it much worse.  She lost the love of her life, and her best friend. 

Years ago a biology teacher of mine said that from the moment an organism is conceived, it begins its march towards death.  My jaw dropped when he said that, and I thought it was a crude and cruel thing to say.  But I suppose it is true.  The set-up of life/death is just harsh.  But here we are.  For now. :/

People say a lot of dumb shit while they try to be consoling.  I'm just as guilty as the next person on this account, for sure.  One guy was searching for the right words to say to me and he said he couldn't believe Mike was gone, he was just SO ALIVE.  Well I wanted to kick him in the shins when he said that.  What a stupid remark.  But he was trying.  My boss keeps saying everything will eventually get easier, time heals all wounds, blah blah blah.  Step back before I punch you in the gut.  Keep your platitudes to yourself.  But he's just trying to help.  

One thing that helped me a tiny bit between the tears was a list I made of the top 12 things I would miss the most about Mike.  I mailed it off to his girlfriend today.  I don't know if it will help her, or set her back.  I don't want to repeat everything from the list here -- you didn't know him, so you wouldn't get it.  But there is one story about him that still makes me laugh...

A while back Mike was driving with his friends somewhere -- I think they were heading to a concert.  He was driving down Burton Way in Beverly Hills, and they were stuck at a stop light behind a cop car.  The cops in the car ahead of him had their windows down and they were talking to the people in the car across from them.  Well the light turned green and it was time to go.  But the cops and the people across from them were still talking, and they didn't notice the light had turned green.  So Mike hit the horn.  HONK! HONK!  TOOT! TOOT!  GO!!!!!  HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!  Who honks at cops?!  THE BALLS ON HIM!  Mike said he saw the cops look in their mirrors to see who the fuck had the nerve to honk at them.  And then it was on.  LOL.  The cops went through the light and then managed to get their car behind Mike and follow him.  For a long, long, long time.  Mike knew the speed limit and obeyed it.  He kept his cool.  And he was lucky they didn't find a reason to pull him over.  

Not sure if that story translates well, but it made me laugh and shake my head at him.  And I am smiling again as I think about it.  Mike was a cool guy.  Golden.  I already miss him so much.