I've been thinking about my friend Brad today. His sister sent me a link to Dancing with Brad, a website with videos of Brad, kind thoughts, and the opportunity to donate money for sarcoma research. Sarcoma is the kind of cancer that finally took Brad's life last year. I still miss him and think of him often. So today, I'm re-posting an entry I wrote about Brad last year on the day he passed away. Because I find myself in tears again, thinking much of the same. What a free spirit Brad was. What a sweet life he lived.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Writing Through My Tears
It's hard to write anything very witty when I'm sad inside. Today was a good day, full of moving furniture out and moving furniture back in as they replaced the carpets in our entire apartment. So most of my physical activity for the day was consumed in preparing for that, waiting, and then putting things back in their place again. But my mind has been on my friend.
I had a dear friend pass away today. His name was Bradley, but mostly I just called him Brad. So did everybody else. I wasn't his best friend. We were close friends, but I'm sure he had a lot of friends closer than me. Brad probably had hundreds of friends.
I first remember meeting Brad when he showed up at auditions for Peter Pan when he was a freshman in high school. I was a junior then. Brad's older sister Kristin was a friend of mine and my older brother, so we were cheering for Brad to do well in auditions. Brad scored a lead role as John and was fantastic at it. I was a lost boy and so was Malcolm, a mutual friend of me and Brad. So, naturally, we became friends.
I know it sounds cheesy to say and if I didn't know Brad I probably wouldn't really believe it, but Brad was one of those people you don't find very often in life. He was never mean to anybody. He was always sweet and nice. If I had been two years younger I would have had a major crush on him, but I was two years older than him and I didn't. Still, there was something addicting to being around Brad. He was just always so genuinely positive. Sure, we'd share in our beefs about life and things going on, but he was just always so much above gossiping and griping about every little thing.
Brad was fun to play with, too. Being with Brad was like being seven years old all the time, not because he was immature, but because he was so pure of heart. He was always so full of laughter and good listening and some of the most fun scheming I've ever known. I always felt comfortable around Brad. I think everybody did. I think that's because Brad felt comfortable around Brad. Gosh, I miss him.
I'm not really sure why, but for some reason today I keep thinking about my senior prom. Brad was my date. It wasn't anything romantic. Like I said before, I never had a crush on Brad and I'm sure he never had a crush on me. I wasn't dating anyone during the time of senior prom and I wanted to go with all of my friends, but nobody had asked me. I didn't mind asking a guy to be my date, but I didn't want to feel awkward all night. So, I asked Brad. I guess he couldn't really say no anyway. After all, he turned out to be one of the only two sophomores that got asked to the junior/ senior prom that year. (As I recall, the other one was his best friend. Lucky Brad. I guess he deserved good things to happen to him though.) Brad and I had a blast that night. We laughed secretly together at the other couples who were really into being romantic. And I think I remember playing hide and seek or something. I don't know. I just remember having a lot of fun.
Brad was diagnosed with cancer a while back. I'm not as good at remembering the details as I should be, but as I recall he went through chemo for a while and got better. That was since I came away to college and I didn't see him much then. I think the last time I remember seeing Brad I was standing on the roof of the old garage at my parents' house, tearing away shingles. Brad came to visit and say hello. I remember looking down at him from the roof. I think I will always remember looking down at him from the roof. Perhaps Brad is looking down on me and his hundreds of other friends and his family now from the garage roof in heaven. That would be so like Brad, to volunteer to help tear off old shingles. Anyway, Brad was doing better for a while. As far as I remember he was doing pretty well when he came to visit me that day when I was on the roof. But for the past while his health had been going downhill. I worried for him and thought about him a lot. I wondered how long he would live, but was ashamed to say so. Then, this morning he passed away.
It sounds cliche, but I know he's in a better place. Not that he didn't want to be here. Brad loved life and everybody in it. I guess that's why I don't worry about him. I'm sure he'll fit in so well in heaven. I just miss him is all. No doubt everybody who ever knew Brad is missing him right now. He deserves to be missed. Brad is worth thinking about all day and missing and crying over. He was so good.
I think, like many, I wish I could have said goodbye. I wish I could have hugged him and laughed with him and watched him be silly one last time. On the other hand, I have no idea how I could have ever said goodbye to Brad. How do you say goodbye to a friend who is dying? What do you say? I certainly have no idea. And so things go the way they go. But I think I'll always miss him. And rightly so.