For the past couple of days I’ve been numb.
A dear friend of mine died in his sleep over the weekend; possible heart complications. To say that it was unexpected is a severe understatement. People talk about being struck by a ton of bricks…..this was a fucking pallet of grand pianos.
I met Tim at Texas Tech during a fall rush party when we were both in our late teens. It was during those formidable years when we were both still trying to figure out where we fit in this world – the suburban straight world we’d each grown up in…and were still living in. Tim was all round face and a booming personality. He was loud. And when he got excited, he was even louder. We hit if off immediately talking about dance music, Polo ties, and Molly Ringwald movies and he quickly became my “Rush Baby” (the one guy that I was determined to snatch away from the other frats). I did too. In early December of 1989, Tim became more than a friend; he became my brother. I knew we were both alike, surrounded by all that masculine “bro” energy of a fraternity only brought us closer together. While the other guys were doing keg-stands, playing volleyball and chasing the poon’, we were thumbing through GQ magazines and shopping for Clinique. Although we never talked about it, I knew we both shared the same big secret.
There was a code in the music we listened to. Queer pop was suddenly main stream; the Pet Shop Boys, the Cure, George Michael, the B52’s, Depeche Mode, REM and especially Erasure. Tim was a fanatic for Erasure. What he didn’t dare say out loud…..his choice in music did for him.
I left school before he did, our lives shifted and we didn’t talk for about 25 years.
A few years ago Tim found me on Facebook and met me at my hotel bar one night while I was working in Houston. I had a couple beers, he nursed a Diet Coke while we caught up. We talked about music and how our favorite groups were still touring. We talked about our families. We talked about the car wreck that changed his outlook on life. How we had both battled with depression (his caused him to balloon to over 300 pounds and the day he decided to change that.) We talked about some bad choices we’d each made, and a few good ones, ex’s who had taken advantage of our kind natures – and how I’d finally found the man I plan to spend the rest of my life with, jobs lost, opportunities taken, and mostly the comfort we each found in finally being our true selves.
Even apart for all those years, our journeys towards discovering who we really were had been strikingly similar.
And now we were both gay middle-aged survivors of our 20’s and 30’s slowing down slightly and creeping towards the big Five-O without a need to pretend for anybody anymore.
Tim moved to Dallas a few years ago and although we weren’t in constant contact we’d get together every few months for a steak dinner or a birthday; maybe a movie. He would text me almost daily, usually snarking on things our crazy frat brothers were posting on Facebook or just because there was a song playing that he hadn’t heard in 30 years.
The last time I saw Tim was on Christmas Eve; a big night for me when I open my home to the people whom I’m closest too in my life. We talked for a while in front of the fire, and as usual, he was one of the last to leave; by then it was technically Christmas morning. We hugged at the door, he wished me a “Merry Christmas”, and I never saw him again….
Cue that pallet of pianos,
You will be missed….
This is for you.
Thanks for sharing from your soul, this has been the hardest year of losing dear friends and family, I think with each year as we get older it will happen more. I’m still not ready to say goodbye to those that left such huge marks in my life. Bless you for being so real, I think that is why I love following you. We keep tight the memories, those that have gone before us still live on.
Thank you. Honestly, writing it all down made me feel better and i wasn’t sure if I was going to post it or not (there’s so much I don’t share publicly) but I’m glad that I did….
My heart is heavy for you. Prayers for peace until you meet again.
Lovely tribute. As we get older this happens more and more.
Beautiful words for our old friend.
I am so sorry for your loss. Keep those sweet memories close to your heart and be comforted by the love of your family and friends.
Beautiful. I pray that peace hugs you and comforts you during this time of grief.
Thank you Bridget,
I’m so sorry you lost your friend. He is really free now!
I feel the same way. He was amazing.
Quite a loss….
A beautiful tribute for a dear friend, I am so sorry for your loss…
So sorry for the loss of your friend.
I am so sorry for your loss. We must never take for granted each day we wake up. It is so hard to remember to live in the moment and not waste this life we are given. And the older we get, the more this happens. Thank you for sharing about your friend, Tim. Peace be with you.
Prayers for your loss!!
It seems we were at TTU at the same time! I still love all that music! So sooo sorry about your friend.
Thanks Karen, we’re planing on going to the Erasure concert in Irving in August as a tribute.
I’m so sorry to hear this. Lifting you and everyone close to him up in prayer for peace and comfort.
Thank you so much,
Heartbreaking! I am sorry for your loss.
He sounds just amazing and nice and kind. You have a beautiful way with words remembering this awesome friend. I am so sorry for your loss. The Christmas party must have been so fun . He sounds like a true friend . I loved reading your memories. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Thanks Mary Jo,
My deepest condolences and heart goes out to you and all his loved ones. Thank you for sharing the story of your early years as friends. As we age, these sad things seem to happen more and more and we are forced to face mortality; something I’m sure you never talked or even thought about in those young years together as dear friends. May you find peace in the memories that will live on in your heart forever, and I am so glad that you got that last special time together at Christmas.
Thank you for sharing your lovely memories of your dear friend. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Peace
I’m so sorry for your loss. Rest in peace, Tim.
My deepest condolences. Losing a ‘brother’ is so painful. Sending thoughts of support, healing and love.
I’m so sorry for your loss.
Oh, James, my heart is heavy to read you have lost such a wonderful friend; what a lovely story you tell. My thoughts and deepest prayers are for you, yours, and Tim’s.
Oh James, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I think you saw on IG that my father-in-law passed away recently. It was also very very sudden and very shocking, so I understand the sheer blow that it is. It just sucks. I’m so sorry.
xo~ jen (N-P from MN)
No, I didn’t know that you lost your father in law, so sorry. And thank you.
I’ve been busy and I’m just now checking email after a couple of weeks. I am so sorry about your friend. What a blessing you both were in each other’s lives and to be able to pick up again after years of not seeing each other. I’m thankful you got to spend Christmas Eve with him! What a wonderful memory to think of when he comes across your thoughts in the future! Prayers for you and Tim’s family.
Thank you Betsy.