Yesterday, an old friend, died. He was the brother of an ex of mine, and she wrote to tell me the sad news.
I remember Gordon fondly. He was funny, had a booming, goofy, infectious laugh. He was smart, tall, attractive, amazing. Obsessive. Also troubling and troubled. Complicated, difficult, dangerous. The youngest of the three children, the baby--at 6'4". And he died, after many years of close calls, of a drug overdose. Which, horrifyingly, his sister discovered and attempted CPR, as did the medics who were called. But G was gone. Imagining this scenario makes my hairs rise.
I feel flat today. Last night was full of sadness. Today that ache comes and goes, as it will because that's how grief does. I wrote my friend back and shared the two immediate memories that sprang to mind. They are happy memories, Gordon silly & playful--the sparkling, funny lad, the brighter, lighter side.
When their mother was still alive, Gordon and she spent months watching Emma every night. Why? Who can say. I wasn't there, but I understand ritual and routine and odd comforts. So they watched this old Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle over and over and over. Until Gordon could recite the entire movie's dialog by heart, which he did, in falsetto when appropriate. And picturing this, hearing the cadences in my mind's ear, Gordon's funny ways, his silly, British voice-over--this has always made me laugh. It's so this family.
And the other truly, wonderfully stupid thing: when he and his friend were watching The Silence of the Lambs, and they both leaped up, ran to opposite side of the house, and seemingly on cue, flung open both doors--resplendant in tucked nakedness: "I'd do me." "It pusts the lotion on it's skin or it gets the hose again." Each one trying to surprise and shock and delight the other--and they both fell out laughing. True idiots! I love that story.
And today. It's still a sad day. Sadder in unknowable ways for Ish and family. And busy. God, death makes survivors so busy. I'm sure they're in various degrees of shock and numbness, resignation, upset and anger. Sure too, the stress of relief. Gordon isn't dangerous anymore. He isn't scary, or worrisome, or vexing or infuriating. He's not making everyone crazy with his craziness. But he's also not here to provoke--in the thoughtful, odd and curious ways he could. What do you do with the finality of that, and loss? Now we're all just sad and flat. His family is busy in their grief and planning. Friends will send condolences and think their thoughts. Life will keep moving on around everyone. Life does that. Time stops and time keeps rushing by.
Gordon. What a boy.