Thursday, April 26, 2012

It been a tough go at it

For the past couple of days I have been alone with the ladies while Keri was away galavanting.  Well not really galavanting, she WAS working.  Working in Newport, RI.  I'm sure she was hard at work.  (Really, she works her tail off.)  I have come accustomed to the single parent life, but only for a couple of days at a clip.  This stretch was particularly hard.

Some time ago, a near and dear friend was diagnosed with cancer.  A rather large tumor was removed and we all thought that was it.  Not so much.  Either they didn't get it all, or it came back, but it was back with a vengeance.  He was given the necessary treatments, but alas the disease was too big for one man to handle.  There was a benefit for him not too long ago and he didn't look particularly well.  I thought to myself that he had a few weeks, tops, until the end.  I came to grips with the fact that I would lose my friend, or at least I thought I did.  He toughed it out for about a month to the day.  When a friend told me of his passing, I was saddened.  I began to remember of our times together, the funny jokes, sometimes if not most of the time, off color to most, but always funny.  The next day it really hit me and hit me hard.  As I read through Facebook post after Facebook post on how he touched so many people, had been integral parts of so many people's lives, it was very had to keep my composure.  As I read story after story, I fought back tears.  It finally set in that I would never see him again, never be graced with that British humor that I took for granted.  I was grieving.  Something I don't think I have ever done.  I had lost people in my life before; my mom's mother and dad's father when I was fourteen, a great aunt a few years later, a kid I knew in high school, and so on.  But none of these people touched me in a way that my friend did.  It sounds bad to say, that a friend, not even a friend I hung out with all that often, touched me more than my grandmother or grandfather, but something about our friendship stuck with me.  

We were friends of friends in high school.  We ran in parallel crowds, occasionally intermingling.  It wasn't until driver's education until we connected.  And that is where our friendship really started.  He was in our band for a while and after that didn't work out, for whatever reason, he subbed when we needed him.  And he enjoyed it.  We enjoyed it.  We were running in parallel groups again.

We would ride to and from gigs occasionally.  On one of these trips, we somehow struck up a conversation about old school metal (i.e. Judas Priest and Iron Maiden) and how it would be cool do start a cover ban doing only this genre.  We laughed about all the cool costumes we'd have to wear.  While this project never got off the ground, it makes me think of him every time I hear a song by one of those artists. So I spend yesterday playing Maiden and Priest, non-stop, on Spotify as I read through his friends wishing him well.

Then today rolls around.  I woke up feeling calmed, almost knowing I was close to the end of processing The End.  Somehow I found my was to his Facebook page.  Oh, boy.  Here we go agin.  I guess I am still in the process, which is good.

I do not know why this is hitting me as hard as it is.  Is it because it's the first "friend" to go onto bigger and better things?  Is it because tomorrow is my birthday and I am getting older.  Did I just realize that he was about a year and a half older than I?  Is it the fact that I have become a wuss since I've become a father?  All I know is that the wake and funeral will be hard.  Hard on me, my friends, his family, and everyone that he came in contact with.  He was that powerful of a soul.  I always say everything happens for a reason.  This anecdote usually is enough for me.  Not this time.  This time we all knew what was happening.  Maybe I didn't realize the severity of the situation.  Maybe I was too caught up in my own bullshit to see what was happening.  But I honestly believe he was taken away to do a higher work.  Even it that higher work was to show us all we are imortal, that may be all.  But there was a reason.

Cancer sucks.  I miss my friend.  Hug your loved ones.  Cherish every moment you have with the ones you love.  Memories don't die.  Paul Peter Butcher will live on as long as we keep our memores of him alive.

I miss you Paul.


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