One of the most difficult things in a person’s life is looking in the mirror and saying, “I’m sorry,” and then in turn saying, “I forgive me.” When you lived a peppered existence for even a small portion of your life you do some questionable things. We are human. Humans are flawed.
Over a decade ago I lost one of my best friends to Cancer. We were 28, roommates and he was one of my biggest fans and supporters. Long story, one that I’ve written before, made short; when Jimmy was diagnosed “terminal” I went down a spiraling vortex of toxicity. I couldn’t face it, couldn’t face the world. Nothing seemed fair to me. I prayed that somehow I could take his place, knowing this is never possible. His things were still in our apartment. I would just go in there and lay on the floor. One day I took a few things: a cd, a pair of jeans, cologne (small tokens). I just had them in my room. I couldn’t let go. They came and cleaned his room out. I couldn’t be there. I couldn’t look at his friends. I didn’t know how to say anything.
A few weeks later I received the last phone call from Jim I ever got. They were the last words I ever heard him speak. It was anger that I took his things. It was disappointment. Years of friendship were boiled down to a voicemail, yeah I didn’t answer the phone. I truly hated myself in that moment.
Jimmy died and I desperately wanted to pay my respects to his family. Emotionally, socially and financially I was in no place to make the trip. It would be years before I would make peace with his family. I am thankful for that. His sister told me that he would be proud of the way my life has turned out. I’ve chosen to think of our last conversation other than the voicemail as the one in the hospital when he was first admitted. The last thing we said there was “I love you my man…” I think about Jimmy everyday. I talk to him everyday.
Last night I had a long discussion with him on my car ride home. I’ve been working for a catering company a couple times a month. Last night I bartended for a wake following a funeral for a 29 year old woman. She was taken by Cancer. I listened all night with my ears and my heart. I caught myself breaking down on several occasions and just made myself work even harder to curb the emotion. The toasts that were given fully echoed what I wanted to say to my friend’s family. The love that was felt was the same that I had felt so long ago. In someway this helped heal part of my soul. This was the wake I never attended. I got an opportunity to talk to her father, the amazing host of the event. I told him my story and that I was a father now. He was gracious that I shared and gave me a hug. He’ll never know what that moment meant to me.
There are people out in the world that refuse to forgive other’s or themselves, they view it as weakness but I’m here to tell you it is the most powerful things you can do. When you tell someone that you forgive them a giant weight is taken off their soul. When you forgive yourself, you throw that weight as far as you can. I forgive me. I live on for my friend. I love you Jimmy.