First, a little background:
Back in my somewhat wilder days (and by wilder, I mean my version of college days), I used to hang out with a couple quite a lot. In fact, I came as close to being a member of said couple as you really can. We'll call them Jon & Tawny (or J & T). I was particularly tight with her. She was like my long lost, female soul mate. We spent so much time together, I might as well have moved right in to their apartment. They used to live on one of the worst streets in Halifax, right across the street from a funeral parlor.
She and I would lay on our bellies, on their bed and look out the window at all the various "goings on" on that street. We saw some pretty freaky stuff, too. We'd be munching on chips and sour cream dip and usually fried right outta our minds ... helped with the hang over. Then, Jon would come home from work (which incidentally, was across the street at the previously mentioned mortuary) and we'd fix him something to eat, smoke and drink and then the party would start right back up from the night before. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
During my foray into this world of things I knew nothing of, I was introduced to Jon's cousin, Darren (this is his real name). Darren was a different sort of guy, but he grew on me after a while and we wound up going on a date. I have never been a "dater" and thus, did not really know how best to conduct myself on a date. We wound up in a downtown bar for the entire day, and after drinking a small fortune in alcohol, he opted to drive me the 50 odd Kilos to my home. (Not one of my more brilliant moves, and I am very lucky I am still alive to tell the tale.) From there, things got progressively worse, and under different circumstances, I would goof all over what happened in the ensuing 12 hour time frame ... but I can't, and in a moment, you will understand why.
Darren and I did not ever 'date' again ... in fact, after the one call I actually returned, I never really spoke to him again (yes, it was THAT bad)... other than what was absolutely required at J & T's wedding the following summer.
I fell out of favor with Jon and Tawny not long after their wedding. I guess three was a crowd, and it was time for me to move on. I had also gotten back together with "Trigger" and was pretty busy with him and all his excellence.
Fast forward a couple of years to when my step father died (as a result of his own drinking and driving), my mother's friend had suggested a certain mortuary to handle the arrangements (she knew someone there) ... low and behold, but who is the funeral director of this place? Darren. My mother, knowing the story of what had transpired between us, opted to hire the services of a different company. That was the last time I spoke to him... it was 16 years ago.
I can't tell you I have thought about him a great deal over the years. He crosses my mind now and then. I had rekindled a friendship with Tawny after she and Jon divorced. It was short lived, but intense. We are on each other's facebook, but really don't keep in touch anymore.
So, it was a shock yesterday when she sent me a message asking had I seen Darren's obituary. I hadn't (as I NEVER read obituaries) and asked her what had happened ... this is where this story gets pretty sad. She told me that he had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer and when they did a further scan, there was a cancerous node located in one of his lungs. He was apparently given 2 years and was due to start his treatments this week. (I did not ask for further details ... just accepted this at face value)
Apparently on Monday, he took his own life. According to Tawny, his reasoning was to "avoid putting his parents through a lengthy battle". I have my own opinions about that rationale, but even in my own blog - it is not the place for such opinions to be voiced.
His funeral is today. I will not be attending, but he is in my thoughts and the sadness of the circumstances weighs heavy in my heart. He was 42 years old - no wife, no children. Nothing of him remains on this earth but the varied memories of the people who's paths he crossed. It's likely that he thought he had all the time in the world to follow his bliss ... maybe he did, I would never know ... but I suspect there was lots more living for him to do, even if he had to do it in the next two years.
I'm really sorry that you chose this end for yourself, Darren. I hope you find peace in whatever the afterlife has to offer you. I say farewell to you with what I remember as your favorite singer. Adieu!