October 31st, 2001

Brown-eyed Stare

A hard day....

Ok, so I just got back from a funeral....

Yes, it was here in Michigan. Yes, it was someone I work with. And unfortunately, it was one of the few *really cool* people that I had met through here, and I had hoped to continue to get to know.

See, three weeks ago today, I road-tripped to the S.O. drop-in, near Detroit. It was a harsh place, where the director has to keep track of everyone who comes in, and where the dignity of the individual is hard to come bny. Oakland County is a *very* harsh place, and this place, although a sanctuary for the mentally ill, is demonstrative of that harshness, also.

Then, afterword, I went to the Comfort Zone, another drop-in, in nearby Novi. There I met with their director, Mike, whose smile lit up the room when I arrived. He was glad to see me, and let me know I'd just missed lunch, but that there were snacks and soda in the fridge if I was hungry. I sat and talked with him for quite a while, and really enjoyed it. Aside from the fact that he was smart, funny and had a nice smile, Mike also had the ability to put one at ease immediately. I even thought about asking him out for dinner, because I thought he was cute. :-) And then, when he mentioned something about a girlfriend, I was disappointed, but chalked him up to someone who'd get to be a good friend, I was sure. And when I left, as he walked me out to my car, he said he'd look forward to seeing me again soon. I was happy that I'd made another friend.

20 days go by. I fly to Seattle to see some of my friends and loved ones, and fly home. Work continues, and I continue helping to "put out fires" here on the home front.

And then yesterday afternoon, we got the call. It was after I'd come back from Holland, and I was sitting at my desk. This weekend, while at a friend's wedding reception, Mike had collapsed. He'd had a heart attack, and was gone there for a while. They'd done CPR, and revived him there, while they'd waited for the ambulance.

And then, in the ambulance, Mike died. He was 34, one year older than me.

My new friend was gone, and I would not get the chance to get to know him after all. That smile would never grace my vision again. And somehow I feel horribly cheated, because of that. And I know I'm grieving, and that denial and anger are part of the normal parts of grieving. But I still don't like it. And I'm still in tears.

I'll write more on this later, but I needed to say stuff about it now. And to all of my friends and loved ones (new and otherwise), please know this: I love you, and value your presence in my life. And, if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, please know that I have lived a full life, and that when I love, I love with all my heart.

But right now, that heart is broken, because of a beautiful man that I will now not get to know.

And I am sad.