Tonight I found myself giving a pep talk to a man who had just learned he had lost his best friend to the viciousness of addiction. As I spoke to him, even as the first words of encouragement cleared my throat, I recognized the irony. Somewhere in these words I said to him, I reflected on what they meant to me in my current state.
Though my insides screamed “HYPOCRITE!” “FAKE!” “FRAUD!” at me, I persisted because I saw a person in pain. He was there with his parents. His father had told me what was going on after we had been talking for awhile watching hockey as a distraction from their familial pain. I already had gleaned some notion of what had taken this man’s friend but I simply listened.
Eventually, I took his father aside and requested permission to talk to his son about this loss. I explained that I had lost people to the very same thing and that maybe, if he thought it would help, hearing some kind words from someone who until an hour before, had never known he or his family, could be useful. He gave me that permission.
And so, as I talked to the son I made him give me a promise and we made a deal. The specifics of it are for us but for me it means I have given my word on something and I have to uphold it.
Hearing him talk about what his best friend resonated with me on many levels. Understanding his grief was like understanding my own. I hope I never receive a call like that about my best friend, the one I have lost, the one I would do anything to have back in my life, to have another chance to go around this world alongside.
It reminded me that life is short so say the things you mean when you mean them with every bit of your being. So… here goes:
I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the words that hurt and the actions that were betrayals. If you are who I know, you are, too. I’m sorry about what the process we are currently engaged in is doing to us, forcing us to reveal all of our secrets to one another even if most days all we want, both of us, is to simply be done with it all. I’m sorry I wasn’t better, let alone “best”. I’m sorry we didn’t click together as well as we did apart.
I like to think we had our moments. I certainly wish there were more of them. I still want to make more of them and so I humbly request your permission.
We can’t take back words said or actions done but we can make new ones. I guess we already are, individually, but I wish for ones together. When I stand atop mountains and gaze at erupting volcanoes underneath falling stars; on black sand beaches with waves crashing all around; in jungles, both silent and deafening; in cities bustling with people, energy, and the very essence of life; these are all places I wish you to see and experience with me.
I return to my mantra of late; we are what we are, we is what we is, and what we is, is….