Today Rand would have been 43. We would have gotten together and probably gone out to eat. Gotten him a Wii game or a PC game or something – two of his preferred gifts for holidays – and probably watched a movie or something. Gotten a cake and forced him to listen to us sing – badly – “Happy Birthday” so he could blow out the candles.
It’s been a tough day. Knowing he’s gone. Knowing there won’t ever be another birthday to celebrate with him.
I took the day off work. I pre-arranged it with my boss about a month ago. I knew there was no way I could be chipper on the phone, let alone focus like it was a normal day and nothing was wrong. Love tried to take a half day but wound up being at work late, not early.
We were originally going to get together with his mom for dinner tonight but her husband surprised her with a getaway weekend at South Beach. It’s their anniversary this weekend as well. So we’ll do a dinner next week sometime. I’ll give her the pendant then too. She doesn’t know I made it for her.
Love and I went down to Zom Hee. It’s our favorite Chinese restaurant that Rand loved too and we all used to go to. We don’t live near it anymore so don’t get there very often, but it felt like the right thing to do for us to head over tonight and celebrate and mourn – a little bit of both – somewhere he so greatly enjoyed.
I still miss him. We both do. It’s hard because friends that you’ve had for over a decade just don’t fall from the sky. People who are family just can’t be replaced. Those with whom you share your life become such a part of you that everything feels wrong and ill-fitting when they’re no longer there.
In so many ways it doesn’t seem real. Seems like he’s just gone on vacation or something. Like we just need to give him a call as if he were a friend we’d lost touch with. It’s still such a painful, raw feeling to dwell on the forever part that I can’t think to strongly about it. I can’t think too much in detail that he’s gone for always, that he’s never going to hang out with us again, that he’s never coming back. I start thinking too much about it in those kinds of terms and I get this tightening in my throat and this burn in my heart. I suddenly feel like I can’t quite breathe or that all the air’s been sucked from the room.
Rand was a true friend in every sense of the word. And his passing has left a weird void neither Love nor I know how to deal with. (Yet..? Ever..? I don’t know.) I know these things get easier with time and in some small ways it already has, but in others, it’s just as hard as it was in March. It’s easier not to cry when saying his name, but thinking too much on times we shared still bring a welling up of tears. Writing this of course does so too but that’s to be expected.
All of this has brought a more urgent sense of the very finite quality of time to my life and to the forefront of my thoughts. Life can seem so forever on-going and then I stop and realize how quickly it all can change. You say things like someday I will…. or I look forward to when…, etc. and it seems so hard to realize you might not have that “someday” or future time to do all those things you dream of doing. That life can just change as quick as that – snap! – and nothing is ever the same again. One week to the day from Love’s birthday party at Rand’s house to 911, ER, surgery, etc. One week between the whole world out there and it being all over.
I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m saying anymore. But these are the thoughts and ideas that spin through my brain in the quiet moments when I’m left alone in my head. I think of change and loss and the sudden unpredictableness of it all and I think about the simple moments that once gone can never be had again. And how, at the end of the day, I miss my friend. And I wish he were here for us to celebrate another year together.
So happy birthday Rand. We miss you and are thinking about you today.