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Published:March 1st, 2008 14:48 EST
Here's to the Night

Here's to the Night

By Tristan Mack

Over the course of the last three days, I have felt the full spectrum of emotions after losing my friend.  From the sadness and inevitable collapse of hope after the dreaded phone call; a day that should have ended with a sunset and friends; to the gratitude we shared as we proposed a toast to someone we lost.  And then there came the numbness, the feeling that nothing could truly convey how I felt without feeling like this only affected my well being.

Despite the sadness and the sudden loss, there is a silver lining within the darkness of these past few days; my friends will always be there.  When word came, we mourned; but, we mourned together.  We remembered the times we had had together, talking about our first times meeting one another.

I remember meeting him for the first time on a beach, singing Country Roads with a family I never knew I had.  I remember the last things we said to one another and the regret I have with not following through with our plans of seeing one another more often than we had over the course of the last few years.  All I have now to remember those nights are snapshots, frozen in time in silver frames throughout my room, staring back at me with smiles I will never see again.

There isn’t one definitive memory I can grasp at this moment, but there are a thousand people who I can share them with.  While these last few days could have been an impossible journey, I found support and comfort in those who knew him; in those I call my friends.  We sat on a front porch, taking in our memories and sharing them with one another over grief-stricken tears and half-empty beer bottles, as candlelight lit the darkness of the night.

And, with these bottles in hand, we made a toast: to remember the good times with our friend, who, if he has his way up there, is looking down on us right now, watching over us-- our guardian angel.

Death ties us together.  It’s what makes us realize we're alive, and it’s unfortunate that it takes an event such as this to make people realize what they have and how easily it can be taken away.  I never fully appreciated those in my life until they were no longer there to feel anything towards.

The very idea of losing someone close to me felt impossible, as though these things only happen to other people, but never to me.  That’s not the way the world is supposed to work.  I still expect him to come walking through a door or pass me on the street somewhere, with that stupid smile and the kindness that exuded from him.

So, tonight, just as we have all these nights now, we have come together instead of drifting apart.  If I can thank God for anything at this moment, it is that.  And while I know my friend’s journey is far from over, I also realize that we will all be reunited one day; that this is not goodbye forever, but goodbye for now.  Because, I know that when it is our turn to enter that other world, he will be there waiting, beckoning us to be with him once again.