So many emotions... I have no idea where to begin. I'm really not sure how to convey clearly the depth of what I felt today. I guess I'll just start writing and hopefully it will flow.
Within the past couple of years, I have lost three dear friends, all before what I felt was their "time." This experience is mainly about two of those friends.
Keith left some unanswered questions with his passing. As far as I knew he wasn't sick, and seemed to be "fine" whenever we spoke.
Tom had a heart attack in his car and passed before impact. He had had a quad-bipass a few years before, and would joke with me about how him and I had "cheated death."
Shawn passed two weeks after finding out that he had cancer. Barely enough time for good byes.
Now these guys didn't know eachother. In fact, their only common factors were me, and the Navy. But they touched me in one way or another and have left lasting impressions.
Now I am not deeply religious, but I do believe in a Higher Power and in Spirit. I know there is something big that guides me in directions when I feel lost. Something guided me to Jon when I needed him the most, and he needed me. We know that we could have met sooner, because we had several common friends over the years... but we never met until the moment was just right for both of us. Something bigger than us guided us in that direction.
I have always felt it.
So back to my friends. Every time I think of any one of the three of them, the other two automatically come to mind. Although they didn't know eachother in life, I can't help but believe that they are upstairs, watching over their loved ones, guiding us... and enjoying a beer together once in a while.
Now all three of them had family and friends that they were closer to than they were to me, so I don't for a second flatter myself into thinking that any of them spend their time keeping an eye just on me... but I do believe they visit.
I didn't realize two things when I woke up this morning. When I figured it out, I rode on an emotional roller coaster that I can't describe. I choked up when I tried to tell Jon... and then I cried all the way to work, while talking to "My guys" and thanking one in particular for this gift that I'm about to tell you about.
So this morning, like most mornings, I had the tv on, snuggled up next to Jon, coffee in one hand, scrolling through Facebook.... I came across Tom's wife's post. She said she was visiting him today, a year later.
Had it been a year? It seems like we just lost him.
I look at my calendar, and sure enough.... it had been a whole year.
I paused to think about the grandson that he has never met. I thought about how his wife is coping with his loss. I reflected on what a kind, caring person he was. The type that would jump to help a friend, no matter the time or the reason.
He is truely missed.
And, of course, because I was thinking of Tom, my other two guys also came into my forethought.
As I wondered how Keith's little girl is doing, I typed his name in my Facebook to go to his page and leave a quick note.... when I got there and was thinking on what to say to express my feelings for the day, I saw a Happy Birthday post. My first thought was, "I wonder how old that post is." I look at the date and it was today!!
I had no idea that Tom had passed on Keith's birthday! And as I have said, they didn't know eachother... And most people would write it all off as a random coincidence. I think the dates are... but me finding out on the 1-year anniversary of Tom's passing was a gift from Tom. It was a reminder from Tom, not of his passing, but of another friend's birthday.
I would never have even known otherwise.
Maybe it sounds crazy, but I believe that Tom's spirit knows that I have had some difficulty putting my mind right about Keith's passing. Being the kind, warm hearted person that he is, I know in my heart that he guided Belinda to make that post, leading to the chain of events, causing me to find out about Keith's birthday.
Somehow, I feel like Tom is saying that I shouldn't continue carrying the burden of "How" with Keith, and just be thankful to have known him. It was subtle, but I know somehow that it was Tom wrapping his arms around me, giving me permission to stop grieving and to know that they are all in a better place.
Maybe I'm rambling at this point. Maybe I'm not making sense, or this sounds crazy to you. Maybe it sounds like I'm reaching for just anything. Whatever it may seem like to someone else isn't important, though.
What matters is that deep down in my heart, these guys are missed by me. I believe that they visit to check up on me every now and then. And I know that today, Tom showed me that he was checking on not just me, but also Keith... and he found a way to let me know that he is doing just fine.