This post is going to be a little bit darker than usual, but don't worry, I'll be back to my sarcastic chipper self soon enough.
In the past week I have had to deal with the both the shocking death of a casual friend and the struggle for life after a stroke of someone I have known for more than half my life. Both are heartbreaking and obviously lives taken too soon, but as an ex-pat, and unable to be there, it is more. There is an unrealness to it, as if, some how, not saying our final goodbyes, not going to the hospital rooms, wakes, bar meet ups, hearing the stories, telling our own, somehow means these two beautiful souls are still with us. As my friends at home have time to get used to not seeing them at the coffee shop, the bar, riding around the streets of their respective towns, I am in a foreign place, removed from all of this and, while it is still sad because intellectually I know they are gone, emotionally it really hasn't sunk in. The emotional part comes later, when I am home again, expecting to see them stroll into the bar, at holiday gatherings, feeling the loss of their presence keenly. This isn't to say others won't also be missing them, but it will be different and in someways even keener for them, having to deal emotionally with this loss twice, once in the everyday sense and once for the big days, the family days, the all of our loved ones gathered together days they now have to face without these people. I get to do it all in one fell swoop, the must be a sort of solace in that.
I know I choose this life, and I am not sorry I did. I have never felt this was the wrong choice for me. That doesn't mean there aren't times I long keenly for where I grew up, feel the need to be there, and desire the familiarity of it all. This is one of those times.
So I say to my friends, Brooke and Shannon. Jon was a beautiful soul and a tremendous artist. He made me smile every time we hung out. I am saddened I will never get to know him better and my heart goes out to you both.
To my Sacramento people. There will never be words enough to explain the loss of Buddy. In so many ways he sat on the periphery of the downtown bullshit, but touched all of our lives in a quietly extraordinary way. I wish with all me heart I could be there right now, but I know Buddy would rise up from the beyond and kill me if it meant I didn't go to Ireland. I love you all, especially those who sat vigil. See you (hopefully) at Christmas.