One year ago yesterday, my friends and I lost a dear friend of our's to leukemia. Before Gaetano (Guy) passed away, my brother would call me constantly asking to go home with him and visit Guy in the hospital. At the time, Guy had gone in and out of remission many times. It seemed like his cancer would come back for a few months, and then go away. My brother would leave on Wednesdays and Thursdays to go home and return to school Monday. I guess I figured he would fight through it and get better like he always has. Plus, I was in my last two semesters of school and had lab on Mondays, and I couldn't afford to miss those kind of days. . . or so I thought.
The last time he called me, was the last time any one of us saw Guy take a breath.
My brother had left for home on a Tuesday and called me to see if I was going to go up to Milwaukee and visit with him. Sadly enough, I was already on my way back home with two friends to attend the wake of my best friend's father. I was going to be home and figured I would drive up there tomorrow to meet them and pay Guy a visit.
I get a call later in the day saying that any efforts of mine to make it to the hospital for a visit, would now be in vain. Guy had closed his eyes for the last time and went forever to sleep.
We had known Guy for 10 years, ever since he moved into the area, and have been friends with him. Now, I didn't even get the chance to say a last goodbye, or crack a typical joke with him. Although I do find comfort in knowing that he is not suffering anymore and has a much better life now.
His funeral was a beautiful one. Friends attended that I hadn't seen since high school. I hate for these to be the circumstances under which to be reunited with them, but it was good seeing everyone again. Some of these people were my BEST friends in high school, and for whatever reason we lost contact over the years.
The next weekend was Easter, and to everyone's shock, there was yet another funeral to attend. Another one of my friend's fathers had passed away. I wasn't sure what was going on. Three funerals in 10 days?!
Don't Waste Time
I have learned more in the past year, or at least in that span of 10 days, than I have in all my years of school. More about life, love, friendship, family, and cherishing time, that is. As I said earlier, I was reunited with good high school friends at Guy's funeral. It took my four years to rekindle friendships with these wonderful people. Why? I wish I knew. That's four years of memories, experiences, laughs, tears, that I will never get back. These people are my best friends once again, and for the past year we have spent every weekend together because we now know how much we mean to one another.
Don't waste time. You can't waste this time with the people you love. You never know when God is going to want your father or best friend to hang out with Him in Heaven, instead of here on Earth. I have realized that you have to go out on a Tuesday if you work on Wednesday. Take a three hour car ride to visit your friend at school. Send them a random call or email, I promise they won't think you are weird and will enjoy it. Don't hold grudges, life is too short and has too much meaning for that, especially if you are good friends. Tell people you love them. I know this is all very cliche, but it is true. We all had to learn the hard way.
I think Ferris Bueller said it best, “Life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. "