The past couple of months have been emotional. A friend of mine passed away. Actually, that’s not the whole truth. He was a very serious boyfriend and, at one point, we took engagement photos. We, ultimately, never used them.
Even though we parted ways romantically, we managed to hold onto the friendship we both cherished. Last year I teased him that if he died before me, I would write him a really great eulogy. We spent a lot of time joking around, but it did not occur to me that I would need to write it so soon.
The eulogy wasn’t ready for his funeral because it took some time for me to think straight. Here is my send off to a really great person.
Sometimes you get out of a relationship and think “Wow, I dodged a bullet.” When Chris and I broke up, all I could think of was that a piece of me would always be missing.
We spent Christmases together with his mom doing everything BIG. I still have all the personalized ornaments she made for me. We spent summers in Utah and he willingly went to The Utah Shakespeare Festival.
He took care of me when I got really sick my freshman year of college. He took care of me when my dad died my senior year of college.
I took care of him when he had an abscessed tooth and refused to go to the dentist. I held his his hand when his sweet grandmother died.
So much of me now is rooted in who we were as a couple.
He is the reason that I know all the words to most of Metallica’s songs. He is the reason that I still blast Sevendust when I work out. He is the reason that I secretly draft lyrics during serious business meetings. And he is the reason that I know what it is to be a truly supportive friend.
Because we were so young, we shared a lot of firsts. We hit up Las Vegas when we turned 21. We bought our first Disneyland annual passes together. We went to too many concerts to count. I still can’t believe I went to Ozzfest. I spent a lot of time watching him play shows at really cool venues. And this was the first time I would learn what it feels like to love someone, but not agree on a future together.
We lost touch when we each got married. Then we crossed paths again a couple of years ago. Somehow our friendship survived the break up and my heart felt whole again.
For the past two years, we shared lyrics and creative ideas. We talked about the challenges of being adults, but we mostly joked around. I still don’t know how a grown man could love Hulk Hogan that much. He read my website articles and praised my storytelling. He lived in Belgium for a little while and he promised to show me around if I came out so I could write about it.
Even though he briefly lived in The Netherlands, he still wasn’t a big traveler. He loved being home. He loved playing the drums and making music. He really loved his family. Oddly enough, my wanderlust was a big reason we ultimately parted.
Now that I’ve seen amazing and gorgeous parts of the world, I truly know how much Chris meant to me. I saw him in Estonia when there was Metallica graffiti on an old wall. I saw him in St. Petersburg when the Rolling Stones were setting up for a concert at the Hermitage Museum. And if I ever visit The Netherlands, I know I will see him there, too.
My life has been so enriched because of that early relationship with him. I have a wonderful little family of my own – a life made possible partly because of the lessons I learned from our time together.
The day he died, he took a part of me with him. I hope he is rocking out in heaven with his lovely mom, Debbie, beside him.
As Temple of the Dog used to play, Say Hello to Heaven. And like Sevendust, you will always be our Angel’s Son.