Wednesday, November 16, 2016

for shane.

This past week has been crazy (and not fun crazy but the kind of crazy that liquifies you). Not only have I felt spread thin but as if I was passed through a pasta machine and came out in tiny strips. Here I am on the other end fervently trying to press those strips back together...only the now everything seems haphazard and out of order. But slowly but surely I am getting my shit reassembled.

Last Wednesday I was just starting to let it soak in that I would soon be living in a world with a president Trump (Still that phrase seems strange to type) and prepping for my boyfriend to have surgery the next day, when my best friend called me to tell me that our friend Shane had passed away that morning. Immediately I dissolved and felt like I had been punched hard in the chest. All I could do was go lay down.

 In the last 5 years, I have seen a lot of death and lost a lot of major people in my life that were among my greatest champions. It doesn't get easier. In fact one by one as they fall I feel way more vulnerable [Tangent: as I try to remain slightly more hopeful that they have rubbed off on me.] When deciding what to blog about today, it seemed right that I wrote a little bit about the legacy my friend Shane leaves behind.  Damned if he didn't encourage me regularly about my writing and the fact that I wasn't living up to my potential. He was a real ass hole in that regard, even though he was right.

I met Shane probably 9 or so years ago when his best friend and my best friend started dating [Tangent: They are now married so that all worked out. Here's proof we didn't eff up our friends relationship].

 In situations like that it is always a crap shoot if friend groups are gonna mix and you know by default that you will have to spend a lot of time together in group settings so you might as well learn to be cordial and tolerate each other. Only unexpectedly, two people that could not be more different (Shane and I) became very good friends. He was brash and outdoorsy and unafraid of public opinion and didn't mince words...at all. At the time in my personal narrative, I was a puss. I was scared of most everything (mostly of my own potential and life possibilities),  and decidedly indoorsy by design.

It a bizarre juxtoposition, but it all worked out...we both were SUPER hard to offend and liked to talk for eons about seemingly everything from music to politics to religion, so our friendship worked strangely well and organically. Authenticity was important for both of us...and I don't think you could meet a more authentic dude or one with less of a filter. I thought hard about a story that would best describe our friendship and the good time and good human that was Shane and I settled on this one.

Shane was in the National Guard and had spent a huge chunk of time in Africa doing work and building wells, so in his absense from Nashville- we were pen pals. At that time I was learning to drive, so I weekly would send him updates and I would hear all about his travels. When he returned he had all these new interests and stories and had discovered a love for taking pictures. Of course like most things he attempted, he was really good at it and I wanted to push him to do more [Tangent: One of his pictures hangs by my sink so it bares witness daily to my spitting out toothpaste.] One day probably about 7 years ago, we planned to walk around Radnor Lake together and shoot the shit. [Tangent: This was pretty regular- we would just find some activity and then just a lot of aimless wandering.] Yes, I was being outdoorsy.

It was such a good day. Perfect weather. I don't even remember if Shane took many pictures, but I do remember we talked a lot about where you could hide a body (which is pretty par for the course of our convos.) I also remember that after getting about a mile into the trails, I realized my battery on my chair was near dead.  My power chair was new. I had  no inkling of a notion on how to put it into neutral so he pushed my 350 pound chair up hills and over some not-so-smooth terrain back to my car..for roughly 3/4 of a mile. I felt awful (and physically he probably did too) but didn't show it.

As we reached my car, I apologized profusely for not paying attention or for not charging my chair the night before [Tangent: If you know me at all...you know how my semi-Catholic upbringing has made the words "I'm sorry" a knee jerk reflexive reaction to most things.] , but he made no issue of it and immediately laughed and said, "So are we going to eat...which Cracker Barrel is closest? You're gonna buy me dinner. I'm hungry."

And we did...he could push me a little further when there was hasbrown casserole on the line. That day is just indicative of him as a person and his effect on me...pushing me when I felt stuck and putting me and everyone else in his life at ease. That was his role (and often times became my role when he felt stuck in any capacity). He was always down to go on an adventure and I was happy to be his copilot. Even when he went on his biggest adventure of packing up his car and driving to the Maine wilderness, we stayed in touch and helped each other stay accountable for being the humans that we were capable of being. I'll miss that. Being at his funeral and talking to his girlfriend and his friends and family, I've seen how far reaching he was and the many sides he showed to so many people. Everyone needs a circle of humanity they can rely on for complete honesty, and I was lucky to have him as part of mine.

In looking for pictures and digging through old messages and emails, I found one from around the time my dad died. When I said I hated feeling like a pussy all the time, he told me that "it was Ok to be a pussy because the rebound to self would make all that weakness feel worth while." [Tangent: SERIOUSLY! WHO TALKS LIKE THAT?!? Shane...that's who.] Now I synthesize all those sentiments as I deal with his passing and damned if he isn't making sense of things even when he is not of this earth. I say this all the time, but it is a spoils of riches the people that I have in my corner, and he was definitely one of the greats. Cheers, friend.


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