I never thought I'd be writing this journal entry. Not for many years, anyway.
It's been a long five days of mourning a friend's passing. He was only 30 years old. Most kept vigil at the hospital while he was in a coma, waiting to see if the brain swelling went down; I kept a brave face at work because my schedule meant I couldn't drive over to spend time there (and, I'm ashamed to admit, I didn't want to see him like that - please don't judge me). His family decided it would be best to let him go, as his conditioned worsened and any kind of "recovery" would have meant a persistent vegetative state. Everyone knew he wouldn't want that.
He passed away around 11:05 Saturday night, a whopping 23 hours after the breathing tube was removed (stubborn to the end - that's Oz). I cried on and off Thursday and Friday while waiting for news, and I thought I'd made my peace, but Saturday night, when it was really, truly over, the floodgates opened. Thankfully, several of us had gathered at Beth and Tony's, and we were able to drink in his honor and comfort each other before everyone finally went to sleep. It ended with brunch Sunday morning. They were so kind to open their home to everyone and provide us with alcohol, board games, space to sleep, and brunch. Nobody really wanted to leave each other's company. It made the emptiness of his passing feel a little less raw.
He fell down his basement stairs. He was probably playing computer games and decided to go upstairs to get a drink, or use the bathroom, or get a snack - things people do every single night and take for granted. I've already gone over all of the "what if"s. What if he hadn't needed a drink? What if he hadn't been hungry? What if he'd been out with friends or on the phone instead? What if he'd had to work that night?
I finally decided to stop torturing myself and let it rest.
Freak accidents like this remind us that we should never, ever let anger persist. My last words to him weren't out of love, but out of anger, and I will never have a chance to apologize and tell him how much I really do love him. My pride got in the way, and I will never get that chance again. I always tell my family I love them when I hang up or when I leave their house; I need to do this with friends as well. It is so scary, these reminders that life can be cut short, too short, sometimes.
Ozzie was a huge part of my life for several years. We had our ups and downs, the normal "former couple trying to be friends" stuff, but ultimately, he was a kind soul and meant so much to me. Even though we were both SO temperamental around each other at times, I now realize it was out of love, not hatred. He loved his friends so fully and completely and had such passion. I still cannot believe he's gone. I don't know if I'll ever really accept it, and I don't know if I can ever forgive myself for the last words I ever spoke to him. I needed some distance, but I didn't mean forever.
I've been talking to him in spirit; I hope he can hear me.