Saturday, January 16, 2016

Day 16- Those We've Lost

Charlie. Charlie made everyone laugh. He always wore tie dyed shirts and hemp necklaces. Before I met him, I called him Buzz because he looked like Buzz from Home Alone. He had blonde hair in a bowl cut, he was super tall, and he had flat feet, so he kind of loafed around.
Today is the 14th anniversary of Charlie's passing.
I met Charlie my freshman year in high school. He was a year older than me and he was in my drama class and he had a sweet little school boy crush on me. My favorite game was making Charlie blush. It was SO easy. Sophomore year I started dating his best friend, Mike, and we continued dating until I was a senior. In these years, Charlie, Mike and I became really close. We were the 3 stooges. We had closed campus for lunch, so Charlie would sneak me out in the back of his Toyota wagon so we could go eat Taco Bell and he could smoke weed. We would listen to NOFX and sing at the top of our lungs and I would scold him when he would speed.
My parents went through a brutal divorce when I was a sophomore. At that time we were living in a house where I had an outside door to my room. I would sneak out and Charlie would pick me up and I would cry and we would listen to dueling banjos and we would air guitar until my tears turned into laughs. He would tell me about all of his insecurities with life and with girls. I would tell him about my own insecurities and fears. One night Charlie had a party when his parents were out of town and in the morning, I went to his room wrapped in a blanket and climbed in bed with him and we just laid there and talked about life. Until a bee stung him. That was a very random bee sting.
I remember his passing like it was yesterday. The phone in the kitchen rang. It was my ex boyfriend Mike, who I hadn't spoken with in years. He said "Charlie is dead." My first words were "Charlie who?" I only knew one, but surely it couldn't be OUR Charlie. I had just seen him at the mall the month before. I hadn't seen him in a while and I yelled his name and he turned around and we ran at each other in slow motion and he scooped me up and spun me around and we laughed and talked about how much we missed each other. He looked great. He was the same goofy Charlie.
Apparently about a few weeks after I saw Charlie, he started turning sort of yellow so he went to the doctor. The doctor told him that he was having problems with his liver and that he needed to stop drinking and smoking pot. They gave him antabuse to make sure he wouldn't drink, but he was spitting it out when he left the clinic. He was only 21. At 21, you still feel invincible. Surely they were mistaken. Within a week, he was in the ICU in late stages of liver failure. He was moved to the top of the donor list and was within a few hours of death when they found him a new liver. Surgery went well and the liver seemed to be taking. Everyone thought he would be fine. That night his liver rejected and he was declared brain dead.
I asked Mike why he hadn't told me sooner. Why he hadn't told me so I could have been there or said goodbye. But the truth was, it happened too fast. And no one really thought Charlie would die. I don't think anyone ever thinks that an otherwise healthy 21 year old can be gone that fast. But he was.
I feel like humans always have regrets when loved ones die. I should have been there. We should have talked more. I should have told him I loved him the last time I saw him (which luckily I did). It's weird to think that you didn't know the last time you saw a person was going to be the very last time ever. Years after he was gone, I called Mike and asked him to take me to Charlie's grave. It was the weirdest thing in the world to see his name on that plaque. It still doesn't feel real.
I have no regrets with Charlie. That guy saved me in so many ways and I feel lucky and honored to have been a small part of his short life.
I guess today I just wanted a piece of him to live on. I miss you Charlie. Maybe you're up there playing dueling banjos with Bowie and Lemmy now.


  1. This is a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your friend with us. He sounds like an awesome person.

  2. Your description of him is spot on! I always remember him as a happy fun loving guy. He was taken way too soon! Hugs

  3. Charlie was always so nice, I was also shocked when I found out from Rosa back in 2007....Thanks for sharing his memory. RIP to a very kind soul.

    Adam Buchanan

  4. This really touched me, I lost a childhood friend when we were children...I had chicken pox, she had measles and so had not seen her in two weeks, her mom gave her asprin and later that day she died...they used her as the clinical example of why not to give children asprin if they had a fever...I was in first grade...still think of her.

  5. It is such a sweet post. May he rest in peace.


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