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something more than us.

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  • something more than us.

    I need to vent, so I chose someplace nice and neutral to do it, somewhere that has people that will understand. I believe you all will once you get to the end of this. I'm not going to blow off at the handle or anything, so dont be worried, this isnt the usual thing you see from me.

    I lost a friend. It happened recently, and it was sudden and unexpected. His name was JD VanPelt and he was 27, the same age I am.

    Now, this isnt the first time I've lost a friend. I've had friends die in Iraq and Afghanistan, fighting for what they believed in. I've lost relatives to untimely demise and illness. I've borne witness to people dying in the hospital right in front of my eyes. Death isnt anything new to me, but somehow this is different.

    JD wasnt a soldier. He wasnt a patient in the hospital. He wasnt family. I hadnt even seen him or really spoken to him in two or three years. He was just a friend from high school, and his life was cut short. It wasnt anything dire or grotesque, JD was just a big guy, towering at almost seven feet tall. He suffered from high blood pressure and an enlarged heart. He was a new father of a baby girl named coral, and you could see in his pictures how proud and happy he was. He went peacefully in his sleep, at home, without any kind of warning.

    Its strange how it got me thinking. I heard about his death through facebook of all places, being that I'm separated from my old stomping grounds by a couple thousand miles. Obviously, I felt remorse over his death. Then I started to think back on how he had impacted me and the interactions we had.

    I met JD my first day of high school. JD was just as big then as he ever was, and I was dwarfed by his stature, standing a mere 5'2" beneath his mountainous form. He gave me a hard time with the typical short jokes. He and the rest of the football guys took great pride in singling out the short guy until one day someone decided they would try and fit me in one of the lockers at school. Now, I'm no wuss and never have been, so I fought, but with the odds stacked against me, it was pretty futile. Then, out of nowhere, JD appeared and started ripping people off of me. When the dust settled, I got to listen to a freshman football player lecture a bunch of juniors and seniors about what was "good fun" and when you had to draw the line. From that day on, I really considered him one of my friends.

    For the rest of high school we ran in different circles, but still hung out on occasion. I went to college and came home for vacations, going to bars and clubs with my closer friends, but would still bump into JD from time to time. I'm happy to say that the last time I saw him, I was able to buy him a beer and reminisce with him about all the crap we all pulled in high school and what a blast it was. He was just one of those guys that no matter how long you hadnt seen him for, he always regarded you as if you had never left. Always with a smile on his face, surrounded by people who just enjoyed his company.

    I feel that even though I'm keeping to my own subject, I'm still digressing. JD's death got me thinking about how short life is, but it was more than that. I know that everyone thinks about how short life is when someone you know dies and how tragically cliche that is. But it also got me thinking about the people around me.

    I cant begin to count how many people I've made friends with and lost track of somewhere along the way. For that, I've nobody to blame but myself, and I should. Thats my true point really; we never quite know how much someone is going to mean to us until we cant tell them anymore. I'd love to be able to have one last conversation with my friend and thank him for what he did for me all those years ago. I'd like to be able to tell him how that knowledge that, even though I may not realize it, someone is always there for me, has bolstered my confidence through the years. I'd like to thank him for being my friend. But, of course, its too late for that.

    I hope theres something you guys and gals can take away from this, and hopefully it wont be "wow, ferris whines a lot". If I could pass on one thought to all of you its that the people you know and have known, no matter how far removed from your life, are special and have touched you in ways that you dont actively think about. Take every chance you get to talk to old friends, no matter how you do it. It may seem stupid and trivial, but reconnect with people from your past if you can. You may not think they remember you, but I'm sure they do.

    Dont let any kind of opportunity for connection slip through your fingers. Celebrate every chance you get to get to know people better. Treasure the friendships you have and by god let them know how glad you are to have them.

    Now I'm going to stand on my balcony and smoke a cigarette. Somehow looking at the stars over the mountains makes me feel a little better about things. Like theres some kind of serenity in the cruel and underhanded way the universe decides to do business. But its quiet, and its dark, and I can thank JD, wherever he is, for enriching my life by being my friend.

  • #2
    Re: something more than us.

    Wow Ferris, sorry to hear about that. I agree with you though, even at our age we seem to get caught in life and move on without our old friends at times. I'm guilty of it. I hate it for his family, I couldn't imagine leaving my wife and young boys right now.


    • #3
      Re: something more than us.

      Well Written... I just had a Friends father pass away. One of the Fathers that you were always around cause you were at your buddy''s house all the time... The guy that got me into computers (the Old C-64 and then the C-128). But I hadn't seen or talked to him since my wedding in ' it was one of those things when you sit back and reflect on what that person meant to your life.

      Good Luck with your quest..
      |TG|ARMA Pathfinder where did I put my keys?


      • #4
        Re: something more than us.

        I feel honoured to have read that Ferris, and I'm sure JD would be to. Well said. That almost tipped me to buying an SM just to +rep you.

        I hope you and the family of JD find happiness in your memories.


        • #5
          Re: something more than us.

          Originally posted by machowner View Post
          even at our age
          At 30, one watches one parents mourn their friends' and older relatives' deaths, and it just doesn't connect, because those are all the stale, moldy people you suffer listening about at family get-togethers. Then you get a bit older, and it starts being you that's watching everyone you know around you die. And it's not that much older when it starts happening. I'm coming up on 50 and have lost tons of aunts and uncles I'm kicking myself for not staying closer to. My dad's gone and my mom's going to be joining him soon.

          The worst thing is how much time life takes, dealing with the day to day grind, and how little that leaves us for the people we pass along the way.

          Some wish for a cure to mortality. I'd be happy with a cure for sleep. That would effectively double my life span, possibly more. And that without doubling the cost (no extra housing or food!), so all that extra time would be leisure we could use to focus on maintaining relationships.
          Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

          snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

          Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."


          • #6
            Re: something more than us.


            Though I never had the chance to meet JD, I can tell he was one hell of a guy! Thank you for sharing a part of his story here with us at |TG|.

            ~ Draken




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