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Still looking for the machine…

Posted in Crazy Wisdom on Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 9:58 pm by flerly.

I haven’t had an update from the hospital, but after the previous call, I fear the next call will be regarding funeral services. I can’t stop thinking about him, and how easy it is to take having more time for things for granted. The last time I spoke with Kelly at all was February, and he messaged me because he’d run into Shawn upon starting a new job. We talked about how even though our lives have all moved on, that everyone still really seems the same people inside. I agreed with him that even though you may not see people you care about for ages that it doesn’t mean you’ve stopped caring. I did tell him that I thought of him often and wished him well on his marriage, though until today, I’d never even known his wife’s actual name, just her nickname.

He’d been battling so much sickness you’d think it would have become an obvious part of him. Fibromyalgia, COPD, but he was still just as light and funny to talk to as ever. Unpredictable, crazy. He, too, seemed the same person after so many years.

I’ve been looking through his photo albums tonight on MySpace, and he did look truly happy in the lovely ceremony to marry Missy. I’ve been reading through his livejournal entries, and it just breaks my heart at how many posts proclaim his fitness after being rushed to the hospital for some urgency. Over and over he proclaims that the next chapter of his life is only beginning. I fear he is about to truly begin the next chapter, and I find myself more at ease sitting at a computer and winding through memories than making the journey to actually see his unconscious body on the respirator in the ICU. Though we spent more than 10 years being friends and for a brief moment roomies, another 10 years have passed since I moved away, and I did only manage to continue visiting Chattanooga for as long as he and Jim were roomies and in the old familiar townhome. When Jim moved on to Atlanta, Kelly went elsewhere and we never managed to meet face to face again.

So how, after so much time, can I intrude on his family and close friends, a complete stranger to most of them, and claim any right to be there in this intimate, personal time with him in the ICU. In 10 years he’d become a father and husband and given up smoking and drinking, and that was a man I didn’t know well enough.  Jimmy said when he phoned with the last update that if I had any last words to say to the man, that I’d better get there quick. There aren’t words that need to be said. Kelly knew as well as I know how time passes and that you can’t live a life of regrets, and that just because I hadn’t seen you in a blue moon, didn’t mean I stopped caring.

I want to sit here and write down a 100 goofy Kelly memories, which would be really easy especially when you factor in that I knew him in the days when we played roleplaying games for fun on a Saturday night and drank our way through Chattacon every year. Minotaurs in the stairwells, and what not. Honestly the memory that always pops out is always going to be the day he burst into the room shouting that he needed a machine to make it all real. Maybe most of those memories are best kept locked up afterall, since I’m sure all the late night profound discussions might seem a little less profound to the dauntain we’ve become while we weren’t paying attention.

This Hoover doesn't suck -- Kelly

So tonight I’ve spent time thinking joyous memories of my friend Kelly, who will likely never wake up. I didn’t know how else to spend the time. Now I’ve shared this with all of you. If there’s any power in “well wishing”, I hope he is getting the strong vibe tonight from everyone. One more memory, of a bored group of us wandering Chattacon and just beginning to wonder why we still came to such events, suddenly laughing and having a wonderful time moments after Kelly finally joined us. I remember Shea actually telling Kelly that his energy and joy was contagious and had helped us all have a better time. Since then I’ve met very few other folks who “brought the party” the way Kelly did, and I think the world would be a sadder place without him in it. If you’ve managed to read this, please send him your love tonight.

This eshu compass icon is for you, man, as you follow wherever your path may lead you. And now I’ll share this great photo of Kelly and the caption he gave it.

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