Monday, November 28, 2011
Rest in Peace John Paul
I lost my best friend yesterday. He happened to be my cousin, John Paul. He was two weeks older than me, the other black sheep of the family, and who everyone referred to as "my partner in crime." I'm at such a loss I don't know what to do. I always thought that when two people had a special bond, when one person left the earth, the other person would know it. I didn't. I felt sick the day before, worn out and depressed, but I just chalked it up to my own medical problems. I wasn't into decorating the Christmas tree, and when I picked up an old glass ornament that had been my mother's and found it shattered, it made me tear. Then my cellphone rang.
It was John Paul's sister. The moment I heard her voice I knew something was wrong. In between tears, she told me her brother had died that morning of a heart attack while in bed. His wife didn't even know it. She had spoken with him before getting up to make coffee and when she returned, he was gone. Just like that. The tears haven't stopped since that call.
The last time I spoke with him was a couple of days earlier. He sounded fine and said his doctor said he could finally get back to doing whatever he wanted to do. JP had been through so much this year, the year he had proudly claimed to me on January 1, 2011, "I got a good feeling about 2011...this is gonna be my year." "His year" began less than two weeks after that statement, with a horrible accident through glass shower doors resulting in the loss of feeling in a couple of his fingers, many surgeries, rehabs, and an almost $100,000 medical bill. He lost his job, and then his health insurance.
Through it all he kept up the best attitude he could, the last conversation telling me he wasn't depressed, but I could hear it in his voice. "My Wall Street days are over, and I can't even find a job as a security guard." He didn't own a computer, hadn't updated his resume since 1988, and felt like he had lost a couple of decades. It's hard to start over at our age. His obesity didn't help, and was most likely the cause of his heart attack.
We were best buddies since birth, and even when I picked up and moved to Virginia we kept in close contact. A week didn't go by without a phone call or a text message. We were so alike we would text each other stupid sayings that no one else would get, yet made perfect sense to us. His last couple of text messages to me was, "Poppies will put them to sleep...Yes poppies." and "Surrender Dorothy."
I texted him on Thanksgiving and was surprised I didn't get a response. I figured he was at his parent's house in PA and didn't want to call him because I haven't spoken to them since the betrayal at my father's funeral. I was going to wait until yesterday to call him as I thought he would be home by then. Now I'm sorry I waited. When I checked my phone I saw he never received, or, never opened my text so he didn't get my "Gobble, gobble" message. He also didn't know that I finished my book and that he was in it. I was waiting until Christmas to tell him. Now I'm sorry I waited.
At least I got to see him when I went up to New York earlier this year. This is how I will remember him...always smiling.
Rest in Peace, John Paul, you left a gaping hole in my heart. I love you, and will never forget you...