Two weeks ago, I had a party at my home in College Park. During the festivities, a developing best friend of mine received a call, and afterwards, promptly excused himself. About two hours later, he called me to make sure the party was still happening. I assured it was, and he returned.
After a couple of rounds of Mario Party (one of the awesome past times around my house), and the disassembly of the party, he proceeds to inform me of the details around his earlier sudden departure. He informs me that a friend within a circle of my friends, Damien, had died. (For the record, I had only seen Damien a handful of times and had one slightly awkward conversation with him. From what I gathered, he was a very upbeat guy, but I didn’t think we had much of anything in common…)
My friend proceed to explain the sequence of events of a few days that ultimately led to Damien’s death. I was very sad to have heard the news, especially with regard to a B-story between my friend and some of the other grieving friends, whom encountered each other for the first time in weeks at the hospital. They had a previous personal rift that I’m sure caused a bit of discomfort between them at the hospital.
Thankfully, Damien (as far as I know) had family and friends around him when he “transitioned",” as they say. What might be the case for you, or some of the people you consider close friends? It’s certainly not something you want to spend a WHOLE lot of time thinking about, but it’s amazing how quickly some people can be gone out of your life forever…
Living in Atlanta, we get imports and carpetbaggers by the daily busload. So many of these men move here at whatever age, from hamlet and metropolis alike, for whatever reason (school, work, family, etc.) looking for something unspecified that so few of them find. In an overwhelming majority of cases, however, they come alone. They usually have no friends or close contacts of any kind here, especially immediately. So, what happens if they get sick or shot? Who can they call?
I guess my point is that I believe the rest of us have some sort of unwritten obligation to engage these community members to at least be sure that they are clearing their mailboxes everyday. After all, it’s the conclusive reason that we endure what we do to make and sustain friends: When it’s YOUR turn, you’ll want someone to care that you are no longer here.
I never thought I would have a use for this, but it’s just one of those songs, ya know? I’m sure Damien never thought that he would be gone after only a quarter of a century. I’m sure The Band Perry wrote this for folks like him. Here’s If I Die Young:
PS – To that circle of friends whom may read this: I did my best and used my best judgment to use Damien and his story to make a larger point about contact and cherishing friendships. Please don’t miss the forest for the trees…