I don’t expect to get this post “right”.I might have tons of grammatical errors or misspelIed words. I don’t expect it will be spiritually enlightening for all my Christian friends who read this. I haven’t planned on having a positive spin on things.I don’t even think I’ll be that cohesive. I may ramble. This may go long. Don’t read this if you want to hear me fake how I feel & pretend. I may write about this again, hopefully with a more positive spin. But I just want to be honest. I have to be honest. It’s all I have.
I lost my best friend. He was taken from me. Cancer took him, brain cancer to be exact (glioblastoma). he fought for much longer than they gave him but ultimately he died almost a month ago. He was the type of person that made you feel like you were the missing link in his plan to save the world. He didn’t make friends, he made family. I was his family. I never had a chance to not be included in his family. He was genuine until the end. There was never a fake moment with him. When he said he loved you, you knew he meant it. You don’t really know with most people, but there was never a doubt with him. I would drive him to doctors appointmets & watch him touch the lives of the nurses & doctors he came in contact with. I remember watching him share his story to some hospital executive & bring her to tears. She was moved by his strength, I laughed to myself because I had seen this before. The power of the way he lived his life with a bigger purpose in mind was nothing new to me. I knew this lady was gonna cry the moment she asked how he was doing. She was ready to move heaven & earth for him, all he wanted was a parking pass for next time we came. Since the day i met my best friend I knew he was on a mission to be a force for good, a student in the art of loving people, a master of its incredible power. He understood the responsibility of this mission & I never saw it cause him to flinch.
I could write about him until my fingers bleed. All the moments, all the lessons, all the things I’ll never forget that will ultimately make me a better person. But that’s not were I am. That’s not where i honestly am. At first I was in disbelief that my friend was no longer going to be around to guide me through life. Then I was angry. I’m still angry. I was angry at God. I kept telling my brother that God got this one wrong. I was angry at God for taking someone who seemingly did everything God wanted of him. Someone who would literally feed the hungry, would clothe the naked, loved the “unlovable”, never judged, always loved without asking for anything. I was angry at people for not showing him the love & respect while he could still see it. I was angry at every cliche I heard that was meant to comfort me. Every “I’m praying for you” made me angry. I didn’t want to hear it. I was angry at the love people tried to extend me because none of it made me feel any better. I was & still am to some extent just angry.
I performed 2 days after he passed…one of the worst decision I’ve ever made. That ride home was brutal. They usually are after bad sets but this one felt a million times lonelier. I lost hope in purpose. I lost a belief in order. Specifically divine order. All the darkness of the moment rushed into my mind & I began to ask myself all the wrong questions, “what’s the point of any of this?” “Who really even cares about you?” “Will people miss me?” Yea I ask those questions sometimes, I rarely admit that but I fight these demons, much less now than I have in the past. I’ve heard these questions in my head years ago. I was familiar with these demons. I hate them. That drive home couldn’t end quickly enough, I was driving 30 on the highway. I remember because every car whizzed by me. I started to look for something special to me. I was looking for an old voicemail I’d saved with my friends voice on it, not the voice cancer & surgery gave him that caused his voice to strain, the one I needed to hear was full of life. His voice helped save me from those darker moments of anger, doubt, fear, hopelessness years ago by simply saying “Dave let’s go for a ride.” or “it’s time for an adventure Dave” or simply “let’s go eat.” he always seemed to know where I was in my mind especially when things got dark for me. He knew my demons well, and never made me feel ashamed about them. He encouraged me to face them. He always knew how to bring me back he always had my best interest in mind. He always said the right thing. that night his voice saved me again.
The voicemail isn’t him giving me some great life lesson, it’s simply my friend giving his phone to some kids we’d met & worked with & grown to love from South Africa who wanted to say goodbye. He’d snuck out of work to see these kids off because he wanted them to know he loved them one last time before they left for good. He left work, met them at the airport & gave them his phone so they could say goodbye to me. That voicemail has maybe 5 seconds of his actual voice, but it speaks volumes of the kind of friend I had. I’ll never get that back, I can’t replace that type of person. All I have now is those lessons learned from the time we shared. I was a witness to a life lived fully in just 26 years. A life that in 26 years was so dedicated to love, the idea of authentic community, compassion, and generosity. As my lil brother put it “some people like Brandon are just better than everybody else.” He’d never admit that but I always believed it which is why I stuck so close to him. I use to say we’re only friends because standing next to you makes ppl think I’m better than I am. A joke yes, but still it had some truth in it. He was so strong in his commitments to loving God, his family, and strangers that didn’t know they were his family that those moments, the dark ones, the angry ones, the sad ones I have, become slightly more bearable because I saw his commitment get him through much darker moments than I’ve been facing. His gratitude for all things around him even with cancer remind me of the power of perspective. He never lacked gratitude for even the small blessing even when he had every foreseeable right to hate everything.
I want that level of gratitude, but I don’t have it in me. I may never have that level of faith, but because I witnessed it first hand I believe I’ll grow from this even though currently I’m filled with grief and anger. I do know how powerful being grateful can be. He taught me that. And that’s where the real work begins, living a life he’d be proud of. I saw a life lived to the fullest first hand. A life dedicated to an ideal that people deserve to be loved, feel secure, and be understood. I witnessed the effect living that dedicated had on people, that it’s had on me. You can’t be around someone that special & not miss them terribly. And I do I miss my friend everyday. I haven’t woken up w/o tears yet. It’s only been a few weeks and right now as I write this I feel terrible. But yesterday was better, & tomorrow could be great. But in order for me to honor him & the legacy he so desperately wanted to leave behind, I must do some serious work. The hard work, the real work that starts on the inside.
I’m not where I want to be with all this right now but it’s a process. Somebody told me crying was good, it doesn’t feel that way yet. Someone told me it’s ok to be angry, we’ll see. I was told to write about it, it only brings me back to those tears I’m still unsure of. I don’t really know what’s right in all this. All I know is times like this expose everything you need to know in life about yourself & the people around you. Tragedy does that. But through this I learned when you love somebody or even something, committing to them doesn’t feel like the sacrifice people say it is at all, it feels like breathing or something else necessary to live. You just do it. I hate to even call any of this sacrifice that feels dirty, it was an opportunity to give back what he had been giving to me seemingly every time I was on the edge of disaster. In all this I learned a lesson in commitment. During times like this you also learn the people who really love you & the people who you need to love back. Through all these clouds in my mind the clearest thing to me now are what love really looks like & the people that love me. Most I already knew, some I’m excited to learn, others I’m understanding the depths of the love. All cases I’m grateful for. Sincerely grateful. Nobody has to love you or even say it so I accept it all & let the real love last like it was always going to.
A wise woman once told me “True Love Performs”, It shows up and performs. Thank you all, everyone who reached out for showing up (however you went about it) when I needed you. I appreciate it.
Also if I see you in these streets cancer & you are in the form of a person somehow I’m F*cking you up on site!