A couple years ago one of my closest friends died over the Martin Luther King Day weekend. It was quite the shock to me and his death still brings me to tears as I write this, I miss him so.
Just a month or so before his death I had made the trip with my new wife to the Washington DC area. We had seen our friend at our wedding but it had been quite some time since we were able to sit down and hang out with him. My parents also were living there at the time and we were excited to see them, the museums, my sister, and some of the local culture and history of the area.
As much as I loved doing all of those other activities it was really my time with my friend that stood out. My friend was one of those people that everyone liked. He was smart, funny, and kind. I had met him while working at the King’s Courtyard Inn here in Charleston. He was a senior in college, finishing up a degree in Marine Biology. We instantly hit it off. My other best friend also worked with us and there was never a dull moment around the two of them. We would take turns saying the absolute grossest things we could think of to one another, laugh about it, and promise to get a beer after work together.
After I moved to Memphis, my friend got a job working for the EPA. He was from Annapolis and he was excited to be working in DC and living back in his hometown in a job he loved. He was doing really well for himself and we’d stay in touch over email.
My other best friend, the guy mentioned earlier, called me up one morning. I was really excited to get the call as his wife was pregnant. Mike had some really great news for me, and two bits of terrible news. First off, his wife had had the baby. But it was very early at this point in the pregnancy, and on top of that they were visiting her family in Pennsylvania at the time. It was going to be a rough couple of weeks for them while the first born was in the ICU, in a different state.
The second part of the bad news is that our other best friend had been found dead that morning.
Every Martin Luther King Day weekend I try to remember my friend in some special way. I also try to be around my friends and loved ones. This year I went with a group to the mountains in North Carolina. There my friend’s parents let us use their cabin. We went on hikes, played in the snow, cooked a mess of food, played board and card games, and took shots in remembrance of my friend. The man, that while I cry because I miss him, I cry with a smile on my face because I knew him.
I love you, Pat.