A good friend of mine died last week.
He was taken at age 51 by the scourge of cancer. He went from a powerful, bull of a man to a thin shadow of his former self.
It was heartbreaking to watch.
I met Bryon 17 years ago and he quickly became one of my best friends. He was a good man, with a good heart.
Whenever I needed a hand with something, Bryon was there. He was always willing to pop over and help me out, or loan me a tool I did not have.
All I had to do what ask.
I jokingly said once, “You must dread seeing my number on caller ID.”
ﾒOf course not, it is always good to hear from you,” was his reply and I could feel he really meant it.
I have not met many people in the world with as positive an attitude as Bryon. He was always smiling, always looking on the bright side and always ready with a funny quip.
He is barely gone from the earth and I miss him fiercely. True friends are hard to come by, and he really was a true friend.
I wish I could go over to his place this weekend and throw some darts, or shoot his BB guns in his workshop.
I enjoyed those times more than I realized - just a couple guys hanging out, sharing the bond of friendship.
It is not fair that he should be taken from this world so early.
Why Bryon? Why such a good man? There are so many unworthy people out there, why claim a genuinely nice guy and let the others live and carry on their selfish, uncaring lives?
It makes no sense, but so often life does not make sense.
Why did my friend Greg die at 50, also from the scourge of cancer. I had known Greg since I was four years old. It has been more than three years since he left this earth and I still miss him. I doubt I will ever stop missing him. I doubt I will ever stop missing Bryon.
So many things remind me of Bryon: seeing a truck that looks like his, or a person with the same build, and driving past places where we spent time together remind me we never will again.
You can't replace a long-term friendship. There are new friends to be made, but only time can forge the bond of a long-time friendship.
Even if you have gone several months without seeing each other, when you meet it is like not a moment has passed.
You speak with an ease only a real friendship can provide. There is a comfort in each other's presence only time can build.
But now, he is gone and with him a friendship years in the making.
It is heart wrenching to lose someone so close. The grief and pain his wife and children are experiencing makes the coals of anguish and loss in my own heart burn even hotter.
And I know the pain I feel in his loss pales in comparison to what they have lost.
But life carries on. We do our best to live with the loss. We will do our jobs, we will play and we will live our own lives.
But in the deep reaches of my mind there will always be the shadow of sadness. A vapour roaming the edge of my conciousness, always present and if allowed it would easily fill my heart with sorrow. There are several shadows dwelling in that dark place.
Those black memories of loss are banished to the part of my mind I rarely visit, I do not want to visit. They are always there, and like a cool breeze, I can always feel their presence.
But even the smallest light can pierce the darkest night and like the sun on a spring day, the memories of friendship warm my heart and make it little easier to carry on.
Copyright 2015, Darren Handschuh