“I swear I only want to hear about you, to know what you’ve been doing. It’s a hundred years since we’ve met―it may be another hundred before we meet again.”— Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence
Last year, a former high school classmate made contact with me through Facebook out of the blue. Randomly, he told me about his two year ‘bout with the law and being in federal jail and being wrongfully accused of the crime and how he was trying to get his life together for his daughter. (This is almost a regular thing for my high school alumni). I was a little taken back by his candor but I told him that he just needed to work hard and stay focused on his goals. Just a regular generic polite response.
He asked all the regular questions – what I was up to and how my family was doing? - and I responsed politely. Then he told me that he was proud of all that I had accomplished so far. I felt the authenticity and kindness of his words. I was touched and it really stuck with me.
On February 10th, I started my day with breakfast, emails and articles. Recently, I have been taking mental break from checking Instagram and Facebook 5x times a day everyday to once or twice every couple of days. That day, I decided to take a comprehensive look-through of Instagram and one post stopped me cold in my tracks.
He had died. I was in shock. I frantically checked my class Facebook group and his Facebook for confirmation and I got it. He fainted and never woke up.
He isn’t the first of my classmates in the graduating class to die. We have lost about three others. However, this one had a profound impact on me.
This gentleman and I briefly hung out for a moment — walks home sometimes because he lived just up the hill from me and calling me a few times. One thing that really stuck with me was his sense of humour and positivity. We did the sillest of things, like the Harlem Shake, sang Black Rob’s Whoa too many times and he would make fun of my accent and ‘how proper I was’ ALOT.
He was a genuinely good guy.
His sudden passing sent me into a day of reflection. My biggest take-away was that life is indeed short and I needed to find a way to connect with people who I shared a moment or two with over my life. I made this one of my goals for the rest of 2014.
Thank you for your warm spirit.
Walk Good, Homie!