Death. We are taught it is a natural part of life. We find ways to accept it when it's an older relative, parent, or someone who fought the good fight. We rationalize their passing as a part of life. I've been having a hard time "rationalizing" a friend passing lately. I can't bring myself to rationalize that this was all a part of life's great mystery or "God's Plan". I simply just want my friend back.
I stood in his room, intently inspecting his belongings with my eyes. I focused on the way every pair of shoes, sat on the floor, scattered in a certain pattern. I could envision him peeling off each shoe and throwing them the exact same way as he made his way towards his computer chair or bed. There was something symbolic in visualizing him standing there, tripping over laces, chucking the shoes in the same fashion. I was pulled out of the moment when my eyes found a crumbled up pair of boxer briefs on the ground, skid mark clear as day on them. Poopy underwear pulled me back into my reality, one I wasn't particularly fond of at the time. So there's that, Casey still finding a way to gross me out even in death.
It was surreal to stand in a room that belonged to someone who didn't exist anymore. My friend didn't EXIST anymore. How do you rationalize that? His body, gone, into ashes in a urn yet to be seen. His voice, personality, and every essence of him had evaporated into thin air but the physical remnants of him laid on the floor in dirty piles just as he left it. How did we get here? I honestly cannot say how we got here. It's all a blur. I only know one thing. I miss him and it's not a missing that can be filled. There is a hole in my heart unable to ever be occupied again. It was Casey's spot, right in the tenderness of areas, where I hold the people I care about most.
They say in time you learn to accept the unacceptable, the unfathomable and move on with your life. There's no really getting over someone evaporating into thin air, you learn to deal with the pain, the mark on your skin forever burned for the world to see. You are forever changed because of this person being in your life and you are forever changed because this person is no longer physically present in your life. It's a hard place to sit, to feel happy again even though you've experienced so much loss. To feel guilty for moving on and accepting the facts of the matter.
I made a promise to Casey, that I would always immortalize him in the world I write and I plan to do that, I just don't have the strength right at this moment. I've found it hard to keep working, keep moving, keep doing anything I would normally do without thinking -Casey isn't here anymore. I'm struggling to find my place in a world that doesn't have him physically in it. I felt his presence very strongly the first couple of weeks after it happened. He was giving Shea, Kristen and I incredible signs he was still with us. Those signs were the strength I needed to find my way but recently I haven't felt him around as much. It pulls me back to not being able to grasp that he doesn't exist anymore.
In the end, this is on me, coming to terms with the new reality I live in, without my friend. I leave you with what I wrote for Casey at his memorial. I wasn't sure if I wanted to share it, considering how much it and he means to me BUT there might be someone out there struggling as much as I am. Maybe this person isn't as vocal, or able to creatively let their pain out. Maybe, my words help this person find their way through their new reality as well.
P.S. I still can't get the skid mark underwear image out of my head. Wipe your butt better in the expanses of the Universe Casey. I'm sure they have those delightful adult flush-able wipes wherever you might be now.
To my Seashell with love :
“When the fuck did we get nutty buddy’s?” Casey exclaimed with glossed over eyes of excitement as he thumbed through the newly stocked cabinet shelves of food in the Ferndale house kitchen. I had never lived in a house with all boys before so seeing such wonderment over a snack, was a new experience to say the very least. He gleefully dug into his snack shelf, grinning like the goofy goober he was, completely thankful I had thought of him when I was at the grocery store. When he hugged me, he meant it. There wasn’t a time I didn’t feel safe and loved in his arms. That was Casey. His heart of gold shown through the sometimes-rough punk dude exterior the world often only seen.
I quickly learned living with Casey was an adventure. One cold winter morning, I woke up to an extra body in my bed. Someone had wedged himself right between Shea and I. After my eyes adjusted, I realized it was Casey, snug as a bug in a rug cuddling my boyfriend. Apparently, this wasn’t a very uncommon thing for Casey to do. He didn’t like being alone and always wanted to be near the people he cared for the most. Then I realized I was the one getting the better end of the deal, two hot guys in my bed at one time. SCHWING. I nestled back down in bed and gently rested my head on the small of his back and drifted back off to sleep.
I have always felt, Casey and I were in some way kindred spirits. We both are painfully shy but have our moments of comedic outbursts around people we truly care about. We love our friends fiercely, keep promises and above all else are loyal to the people who matter the most to us. I have been lucky to call him a close friend for the last 8 years. Over the last couple of days I’ve had the same thought in my head “What am I going to do without him?”. It wasn’t until I sat down to write this I realized something. I am never going to be without my friend. He will always live within me. I can immortalize him on the page with every character I write. Every goofy antic he pulled can be acted out on screen in whatever TV show I’m working on. I wouldn’t be doing him a service if I didn’t write a character who had a crippling fear of ordering his own damn pizza. So, that’s what I am going to do, make sure Casey lives forever in the things I create. To be honest, he wouldn’t want it any other way.
I love you my seashell, and I know I haven’t felt your presence yet because you’re off exploring the vast expanses of the universe but when you come back, I’ll be waiting for a sign you’re here snuggling Shea with me.