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Sunday, May 4, 2014

A painful day and a painful lesson

I had a whole post written this morning. I was about to hit the publish button. And a noise on my phone caused me to pause and walk away. I came back and deleted everything I just wrote. Because not one bit of it mattered to me today anymore.

This morning, I learned of the tragic passing of someone I considered a good friend. Someone who battled their way through a hefty heroin addiction and a jail sentence for DUI. Someone who had finally turned his life around and was on the right track. Someone that will now never get to learn what life holds for someone who isn't always under the influence.

There were 4 other people who passed with him. I knew none of them personally, but had heard of some of them. It was a tragedy that could have been averted had someone just opened a window. Part of me is really mad that at 30 years old, he didn't have enough sense to open a window while using a propane heater in a small cabin. Part of me is really mad that 3 innocent children aren't here anymore because of that. And another part of me is understanding because we have used propane heaters before and never thought to open a window either.

My medical brain knows that dying of carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the least painful ways to die. The friend part of my brain is in agony that what if that's wrong and it isn't? I know that I need to not let this bother me. But just last week he had explained to me that he was going to be a dad in October and he was really excited. He was so happy that things were looking up. And that he was getting a chance to show the world what he was made of.

I know in a few weeks I'll be able to hear a story about this on the news and not get choked up. I know in a few months I'll be able to look at his facebook page and not cry. I know in a year I'll be able to watch the video of the cold water challenge and hear him say my name and not lose it. But today, today I'm hurt and I'm sad.

As you all know, I don't have many true friends. I don't share that part of myself with everyone. But Nate and I were traveling a similar path. Nate and I both spent many days thinking about how to not go back to the life we once lived. Nate and I both battled addiction, even if his was way worse than mine. Nate and I both had an intense disgust for humans in general. We could yell at each other and be mean, but be friends later that day.

I went great chunks of time without speaking to him, because that's how I am. We hadn't actually seen each other face to face in god knows how long, because that's what I do. But damn it, today I regret not putting in more effort. Today I get to live knowing that I had a great friend that I didn't try harder to see. And now I can't anymore.

Today I learned I have to be a better friend to people. Because nothing is promised.

I will miss Nate. I will miss his stupid stories of the trouble he used to get himself into. I will miss yelling at him for being an idiot. I will miss telling him about my shitty days and seeing him type "Suck it up, Nancy. My life's worse." in a facebook message. I will miss him telling me to try harder to be a better mom and a better wife or I'll end up a cat lady. I will miss the honesty.

So, this year, I am going to get back in touch with the people I consider my true friends. I will facebook message them all and tell them how much they mean to me. I will make the effort to not be so focused on myself. I can never fix not telling him I appreciated him kicking my ass in the right direction sometimes, but I did appreciate it. I can never fix not telling him I was proud of him for getting out of the drug life, but I was. And I can never fix not telling him how thankful I am that he told me plenty of times how great my husband is and told me to not mess this one up.

But I can fix what I haven't told everyone else yet. And I will. That I can promise.