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Lost Friends

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
A friend of mine died on Saturday. As I understand it, he was driving in the rain and lost control of the wheel. He didn't even make it to the hospital. I won't exaggerate how close we were. I hadn't spoken to him in years and we hadn't friended each other on facebook or anything. I'm not that great on facebook, so that's no surprise. In fact the only reason I found out about what happened as quickly as I did is because a mutual friend posted about it. We were never especially close friends - we would hang out occasionally and spent a lot of time one very boring summer talking about geeky gaming stuff. I have some fond moments, like the time an fundamentalist tried to convert us and using the Socratic Method and a better knowledge of the Bible we made the evangelist run away. He wasn't my best friend, but he was always there, always part of it. He's in a lot of my stories from that time, which is a pretty good indication of someone's importance.

We were part of a large, extended social circle that I stumbled into in grad school. He's the first of our cohort to die, and it's shaken me up quite a bit. The circumstances, the suddenness of his passing is probably part of it. He had diabetes and never treated himself very well (smoking, drinking), so if you'd asked me who would be the first to go, I would have said him. We all would have - including him. But to die in a stupid car wreck at 32 years of age? It just seems pointless.

I'll miss him, and regret that I didn't stay in touch. I think one of the things I've learned from this event is that it may be mistake to start with an entirely clean slate every time you're in a new situation. My whole life, I've started completely over every time I've moved. I've let nearly all of my old friendships lapse because I thought it was important to move on. But now I'm beginning to think I may have missed something along the way, that starting fresh comes at a price. I'm going to try to make an effort to re-connect with some of those old friends, and to try to hold onto some of the ones I make here.

So here's to you Phil, wherever you are. Thanks for being.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 8:49 AM
  • I had a friend die September 16th in an auto accident -- she was 32. We were a bit closer than you and Phil, but I suspect the experience is similar.

    Take care and hang in there -- I found myself writing down memories of my friend with the idea of eventually sending them to her family or posting them to facebook. You might want to do the same, it seemed to help...

    By Blogger Inside the Philosophy Factory, at 10:28 AM  
  • I'm really sorry. It's never easy, but when you lose someone who is so young and in such a shockingly sudden way, it does seem even harder to deal with.

    I get the whole starting fresh when you move thing, I've been doing it for decades. The only people I ever revisit are family - cousins, aunts and uncles, etc., when I am forced to go back to my hometown.

    I go years without contact with them, long periods of time without even thinking of them. But I do enjoy their company whenever I see them again. They're a fun group.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that I keep my distance this way because I don't want there to be very many people whose loss would affect me greatly. I think it's another little something left over from when my father died when I was 22.

    As it is, there's my two daughters, my mother, sister, brother and six nephews. More than enough to deal with, imo.

    Not to mention pets.

    It's the big gamble of life. The more living creatures - human and otherwise - you allow to give you joy in this life, the more suffering you open yourself up to when they are taken from you. In my head, I think the risk is well worth taking. In reality, I am such a sissy about pain - both physical and emotional, it's just easier to keep others away.

    It's almost too much just dealing with the loss of my dogs.

    By Blogger Rebecca, at 11:10 AM  
  • I am so sorry.

    I get the whole thing to about moving. I have some wonderful friends that I recently left behind. I do wonder if it will stay that way now that I am 750 miles away.

    By Blogger Seeking Solace, at 1:04 PM  
  • I'm sorry to hear that. :( You guys just can't catch a break this year, can you.

    As a side note, I think that phenomenon of just starting over clean and fresh when you move is not limited just to you, and I think it happens more often with men. My boyfriend is the same way and he sometimes laments the fact that he no longer talks to his friends from previous incarnations of his life.

    Also, my best friend and I were chatting and we both think that for whatever reason, women are more likely to make friends more quickly than their partners when they move to a new place, ESPECIALLY if the partner is not into typical "male" activities like sports (which neither of our boyfriends really are).

    Just some observations. I'm thinking of you and BH.

    By Blogger Silk Stocking, at 2:29 PM  
  • so so sorry.

    By Blogger BrightStar (B*), at 7:36 PM  
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