A Toast to One of the Best…

One of my longest known and best friends just died. I’ve known him since I was 5…

I found out, sitting at a picnic table with a friend over my break yesterday evening… I was immediately and irrevocably floored…

It’s not like I didn’t expect it. When he called the very last time he told me he didn’t think it was going to get better this time, but he had faith in his God and hope… But I knew for him to admit that to me meant he was saying goodbye. I cried then, not in his presence of course – but I cried… because of all the people in this world that didn’t deserve this, it was he who never did a truly shitty thing to anyone, he who was always there to help or be a friend, he who could always make me laugh… HE DIDN’T DESERVE THIS.

Later I was struck by it, had my 45 second cry in the fucking bathroom at my work… crouched down like a child playing in the mud… and we’re talking ugly, sobbing, cry. To my credit, the make-up held. (He used to tease I could be sweating buckets down my face, yet my make-up never ran, lol…)

These sorts of things usually don’t bother me like this… Death is part of life and part of the cycle we will all go through… but this one hit hard…

I mean, he used to call me at night when he was doing the traveling construction bit just because he “got lonely” and wanted to talk to someone… and intermittently, following that stint, he’d call just to bs….

Terry kept tabs on me forever. He’d ask about where I was living, what I was doing, my family… all of everything…

He hauled his cookies out to my mom’s every time he knew I was gonna be in town – And every time, even when I weighed 400+, even when I was crippled up, even this last time in July 2018 when I knew he wasn’t feeling his best, he would bellow: “HOOOOOOLLIE!!!” the instant he saw me – Then scoop me up off the ground in a giant hug.

I’ve known that boy for most of my life… 36 years of it, anyway…
We went to the principals office together in first grade, me for something I didn’t do and he for something he did… I stood by him and we got in trouble together. I convinced him to help me steal a giant “road closed” sign during a blazing hot summer day while we were in high school. (Don’t judge! The entire time he kept telling me as he hefted the behemoth into the bed of my truck that he was NOT helping me steal that sign!) I tricked him into joining FHA in the wayback and he actually enjoyed it!

Crap! He even took me on a date, lumpy old me, back when we were 15, lol, and years later he actually came to my house to tell me the morning after he lost his virginity… and how he always thought it would be me who took it, lol… But I never would make any move (and no, I didn’t even consider that until he mentioned it that day, and it was immediately dismissed with peaks of laughter from us both, lol!)

He’d check in on my mom as the years rolled on and help her around the house with little repairs and projects in my absence. He was always good for a story and a laugh… He was my friend. He never judged, was never mean. I don’t think he knew how to be that way…

He was the only person I knew that long that was still actually there, really there, not because he was family. Not because I gave him anything, or he felt like he owed me anything or because he wanted something…

But just there because he wanted to be…

The funeral is Saturday. I have no $$ for a flight, so I’m gonna have to either pray for cheap last minute flights I’ll purchase the day before I fly out or drive that lonely 18 hours x 2 by myself… I won’t even be able to call him to help pass the time.

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I have to go. I just have to… I have to say goodbye to my oldest friend for the very last time.

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