This morning I learned that my friend Jerry died. Jerry is one of my many friends who we affectionately refer to as an "old-timer" in the group I'm involved in. I first attended a gathering of about 15-20 men who were mostly old-timers and he welcomed me in a way that made me feel like I fit right in.
I spent the next 4 or 5 months trying to prove (and tell everyone) that I didn't. One thing that confused me is that since the group was mostly older men it had lost several of its regular attendees over time and they talked about them on a somewhat regular basis.
I fought that. I'm new and I've never met this person, why don't we just focus on where and who we are now? My friend Jerry smiled and let me be the rascal that I was being. Always welcoming me back with a warmth that was, at times, downright confusing.
I broke bread with him on several occasions. He was there on the other side of the phone talking me through rough spots. He was one of those people in our lives who told me everything would be ok and I really believed it when he said it to me.
Then he got sick and he was in the hospital for quite a while. And I kept saying to myself, I'll go next week. Now it's too late. You see, both Jerry and I share this disease that is founded on selfishness. He showed me how to treat this disease daily. This morning I've been reflecting on the choices I made instead of visiting him and it sickens me.
If he were still with us, I would tell him "I was wrong to be so self centered and insensitive". And the thing that is crushing me this morning is I know he would tell me it's ok and give me a huge hug.
That's who Jerry was. And it's not totally that "I've" lost Jerry it's that "we've" lost him. Because he won't be there to extend his loving embrace to another man or woman like me.
I'm so fucking pissed that it takes death for me to "get perspective". I hear it all the time when there are tragic events. It just feels so wrong that I'm taking the loss of this amazing man to teach me things he was trying to teach me for the blessed time I knew him.
I understand my group members better now, because I now know how it feels. But it's a Catch fucking 22, Jerry had to die for me to get all of this. It's too painful of a price to pay.
This hurts so bad. I loved Jerry Jacobs. I know everything's going to be ok, just like you always said to me Jerry, I really believe you.
And I'm going to talk about you, long after you left us last night. And a new man may not get why I'm talking about you and I'll will smile compassionately. But in a very meaningful way you will never leave me because you filled my heart in an everlasting way.
I love you Jerry Jacobs.