I've lost the best friend that I never met in person, but who has been such a big part of my life since just before I got sick. If I had never gotten to know Perry, I don't think I would ever have gotten as well or have ever been as (mostly) happy as I learned to be. And all I got was a mass email notification of his passing. I keep asking myself if I would feel better right now if he had just disappeared from my life? Then, at least, I could imagine him still here on earth and okay and just on one of his crazy bike trips. Or somewhere doing all the other brave and amazing things he liked to do - things I would never do: snorkeling, skiing, camping in some weird and strange place...
Perry, what will I do without your phone calls and emails and little encouragements? What will I do without knowing that you are somewhere out there in the world, rooting for me and just being there?
Because I never met you "in real life," I don't know what to do with this pain I feel at losing you. You were here and now you're just gone away. I feel cheated.
I have, vaguely, wondered before what happens when people who connect online lose touch. At least I am lucky enough that someone thought to contact me. I don't know. I might have preferred just not knowing.
All day today, when I felt like I was so lost and alone in this world, I kept reaching for my phone to check for a message. From Perry. Every time I thought of something funny, or amazing, or scary - I wanted to tell Perry about it.
A couple of weeks ago, I felt so brave, coming here to a strange place. I felt like I was on an adventure because that's how Perry encouraged me to look at it all. This morning, I felt a big whole tear right into the bottom of my world. I'm not feeling so brave now. I'm not feeling like I can hear Perry's voice telling me that I can do this.
There is no more Perry on the other end of a phone call or email. There won't be anymore little bits of crazy humor from him to make me laugh. You aren't here to remind me that I am smart (when I feel dumb), or pretty (when I feel horrible), or tell me to get off my pity pot and just be thankful. You aren't here anymore to just help me keep trying to be a better person.
How can you just be so gone away from me?
I now have one friend left that I don't know "in real life" and I'm going to tell her right now and right here how much she means to me. For +Sandy Sandmeyer:
"I love you, Sandy girl! No matter where in this world you are, and no matter what might happen to either one of us. you must know that."
Because Perry always ended our calls by saying something about taking care of myself or being good to myself, I didn't miss the chance to let him know how much he meant to me. He also liked to end conversations with, "In my heart, Tru." I hope he can still know that, wherever in Heaven he is, he is always in my heart too.
There are a lot of little memories that are going to one day make me smile when I think of Perry but, right now, I can't think of anything except that he's not here. One day, I will write about you but, for now, just rest in peace.
And, for any of you who knew Perry - or who have lost a friend - I'm going to encourage you with what is encouraging me. From 1 Thessalonians 4:13,
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
And, because this is my blog and my memorial, I'm going to go ahead and include one of Perry's secretly favorite songs.