I met Dave* when I was 9, and he was 7. Life revolved around church, both of us at an age when we had to follow our parents every weekend for mass or retreats. It was the only form of social life I had as a kid. Dave was always the “naughty one”, he was bold and always got into scraps or skinned his knees.
We spent a lot of our time playing together, or getting into trouble together.
Fast forward years later – as teenagers, Dave and I drifted apart. I was a few years ahead of him in school and I didn’t see him in church often. I wasn’t going regularly myself. I wondered if he was able to cope with his studies.
I was 17 when Dave died. My dad broke the awful news to us the moment he came back from work. This was before the Internet and social media. No one really knew what happened. But from what I gathered, Dave was found hanging in his bedroom.
Losing someone is unbearable. When it happens suddenly, without warning, it shatters our lives, the very ground we walk on. Although we were not close friends at that point, it was like someone hit my chest with a bag of sand. At Dave’s wake, everyone from church was there. I cried, though I tried not to. We all were crying. Someone handed me a tissue. At his funeral, I watched as they lowered him into ground. A woman collapsed, sobbing, by the side of his grave.
I was moody for a while in school and I remember a friend in writing me a note to cheer me up. She told me to remember the good times I had with Dave. I do remember them. We might have been great friends, he might have been one of my groomsmen, been there to celebrate my daughter’s full month party or an awesome beer buddy for Fridays, who knows? I’ll never get to know him as the man he could have been.
It’s been nearly 20 years. From time to time, I think of Dave, remembering him as a young boy and wondered how he would look as an adult. One day, I tried looking up his name on Google, just to see if anything had been written about him over the years. I uncovered an obituary by his family, published five or six years after his death. There is not a day that they do not think of him.
There are no words I could say to his family, even now, that could offer any comfort. Writing this post is painful. But through this song, I want to acknowledge Dave for the friend that he was and could have been.
He did what he did, for whatever reasons he had, and it left a gaping hole in many of us. A sense of loss, frustration and constant pining for someone you will never meet again.
Whatever happened, I’ll always remember you, Dave. I’ll always remember the good times we had.
For me, this is closure. This song is for you, Dave.
*I’ve changed his real name and age because this happened a long time ago and I don’t want to draw unnecessary attention to his family.