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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Love and Loss

Last Saturday, I lost someone who was at one time very important to me.  He died very unexpectedly from a heart attack.  Phil was THE guy in high school.  I was sure I loved him.  I bought him Brut cologne for his birthday (December 4), and he came to see me in the hospital when I had knee surgery our senior year of high school.  He was cute and funny.  He played basketball for CYO (Catholic Youth Organization), and I saw him play often.  (He wore #33.)  We often stood at our lockers and talked until we were late for class, but when it came time for prom, he took someone else.  (A someone else who turned out to be his ex-wife...)

I hadn't seen him in years--although I saw him and his son at Red Lobster last summer before I moved back to NC.  I didn't say anything to him that day because I wasn't entirely sure it was him-- he and I made eye contact, but inasmuch as I look much different than the last time he saw me, I don't think he was sure it was me, either.  But by the photograph that accompanied his obituary, I know now it definitely WAS him.  I wish I had spoken to him that day.  Sigh...

I learned of his sudden passing on a page on Facebook for my (can you believe it?) 40th high school reunion. Ironically, his son is married to a former student, and he and she had their first child (and Phil's first grandchild) on the day he died.  I was so shocked to learn of his death that I felt it had to be a mistake...until I confirmed it by reading the obit.  It just doesn't seem possible.  Even now, more than a week later, I'm still stunned and so very sad.

Phil is the third man from my past to have died.  Bill died several years ago--he was someone I had dated in my 20s who revisited me in my 40s. He had cancer, and his passing was a blessing as he suffered greatly. William passed away unexpectedly from a blood clot following spinal surgery.  I truly loved all these men but William was the only one with whom I had current contact.  I met William on AOL in 1998.  He and I had a complicated relationship--but I loved him, and I know he loved me.  He and I spoke every couple weeks; the attraction between us was still strong; in fact, the weekend before his surgery, he propositioned me, and laughing, I turned him down.  I wish I hadn't.  I wish we had met once last time...I wish we had made love one last time...I miss him so much.  I discovered on my iPhone that deleted phone messages are never truly deleted--and I was able to restore them.  I listen to them now and then when I'm missing him the most.

I'm hurting so much tonight...not just for Phil--we hadn't seen each other in years and probably had nothing in common--but for Bill and for William and for all the possibilities that just aren't anymore.  I know that people quote Tennyson, "It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all", but as I sit here alone and heartbroken, I'm not so sure...