The In Between Place

Lonely man

I made them cry, not him or her but them. You can tell me it wasn’t my fault or that it is not my responsibility but I won’t accept it.

That is because I was the one who made the telephone calls. I was the one who called our friends and told them you were dead.

Some of them screamed and some of sniffled in silence but I heard their voices and we shared the pain of your loss.

Today is your birthday or should I say it would have been. I don’t have a clue what you would have done for this one or where you would be living.

Maybe you would be married and maybe you would be a father. It is a relatively easy guess to make and probably not far off of the mark.

Instead of writing to you and wondering if somewhere you can hear, see, feel or read this I would call you and make some crack about how old you are. You’d give me some sort of sarcastic response and I’d tell you about my family.

It wouldn’t be the first time. I have visited your grave and sat next to you. I have told you about your funeral and how very blue the skies were. It was hot that day and not just because we were wearing black suits.

Nor was it because we buried you.

That has always been important to me. We buried you because you were loved by your friends. We buried you because it was among the last kindness we could bestow directly upon you.

Every year I remember the moment when I saw your mother’s face while I was shoveling dirt on your casket. It was horrifying then and as a father it is only made worse.

Yet there is a piece of me that smiles because I know you would have done the same for me and because I know your parents appreciated it. I know that in this moment of utter horror they knew that people who cared about you were doing our best to help.

We would have done more. We wanted to. Had we known earlier we could have helped carry the load. You knew more than us. You knew this was coming sooner but didn’t say.

Perhaps it was your choice, but we would have listened. We would have shared more with you during a time when we could both communicate.

Life is pretty good now. It has its challenges but that is to be expected. I keep tabs with your siblings and your parents. They are good too.

I don’t regret having had to make those calls or having been a part of the merry men of grave digging. Shit happens and we deal with it.

You are gone but not forgotten. You helped change more lives than you know and that is a legacy to be proud of.

Happy Birthday old friend, I’ll see you again.

 Linked To YeahWrite.

(Visited 174 times, 2 visits today)


  1. Gina1 August 3, 2012 at 6:57 am

    This was incredibly touching, Jack. I have read posts about your friend before. This was a wonderful way to remember his birthday and the special friends you were to each other. He was too young.

  2. michael_walker69 August 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    It’s never easy saying goodbye to the ones you love, but you did a fine job here. Sorry for your loss.Michael A. WalkerDefying Procrastination

  3. dawnberonilla August 2, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. It seems by your words that it was a long time ago, but your emotions still seem so fresh. I think that this is my favorite post of yours to date. It’s sad and beautiful, nostalgic and honest, and I like that. 

    • TheJackB August 2, 2012 at 11:22 pm

      dawnberonilla Hi Dawn,Fourteen years ago and it passed in the blink of an eye. Most of the time I am fine with it because that is the only choice, but every now and then it kicks me in the teeth. He was more of a brother than a friend.It is just my way of keeping the memory alive. These words I shared aren’t really my focal point, I think of the happy stuff, but they sort of come along with it so…

  4. jamie August 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Sorry for your loss, Jack. But this post is so beautifully written. I hope your old friend find peace at last.

  5. Mark_Harai August 1, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Jack, I honestly can’t keep up with all of your posts… But I don’t believe I’ve seen a video in a while??Slacker.

  6. subWOW July 31, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I’m sorry for your loss. You did good by your friend and their family. Happy birthday to your friend too.

  7. bdorman264 July 31, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Moving story; this is my comment. 

  8. Mark_Harai July 31, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Commenting all good here sir…

  9. mommyslounge July 31, 2012 at 9:22 am

    *sniff* Makes me remember and miss some people in my life – young and old – who’ve gone ahead of us…

  10. NinaBadzin July 31, 2012 at 8:52 am

    First, very moving piece. Second, let’s see if this comment posts!

  11. DanDadDoes July 31, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Really an example of some great writing…very well done, look forward to reading more.

  12. Soulati July 31, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Leaving a comment to see if it works. In the past, I have had issues with the system. What’s below is overlap of some language — “feedback” and “see newest” or whatever (can’t read it) overlap on top of each. Looks like Livefyre needs more room b/c it’s a new beta? 

    • TheJackB July 31, 2012 at 10:42 pm

      Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing I am guessing it is a beta issue. Their CS usually is pretty good. I appreciate how responsive they are to those of who are using the free service. That is something you don’t always see.

  13. BruceSallan July 31, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Sad to lose a friend, JB…been there too much in my life!

  14. KDillabough July 31, 2012 at 8:22 am

    It seems like comments are duplicating. Won’t comment on the post yet: just doing as you asked:)

  15. Jens July 31, 2012 at 4:57 am

    Hi Jack.This is awesome writing. It reminds me of a friend that died a very long time ago. He was just a teenager.

  16. Jens July 31, 2012 at 4:57 am

    Awesome. It reminds me of a friend that died a very long time ago. He was just a teenager.

  17. CrossBetsy July 31, 2012 at 1:07 am

    (had to come back and paste in my comment because I wasn’t sure it stayed. Sorry if it’s a duplicate)Made me cry. Really. Wiping tears. Sniffing. Trying to figure out what the tears are for. And then I remembered that there are three little girls sleeping on the floor just feet from me and will wonder what’s wrong if I wake them up….so, I’m getting a grip and moving on!

  18. CrossBetsy July 31, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Made me cry. Really. Wiping tears. Sniffing. Trying to figure out what the tears are for. And then I remembered that there are three little girls sleeping on the floor just feet from me and will wonder what’s wrong if I wake them up….so, I’m getting a grip and moving on!

    • TheJackB July 31, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      CrossBetsy Fourteen years later it sometimes feels like it just happened, but most of the time I do nothing but smile when I think of him.It is tragic and beautiful. We were 29 and just beginning to understand what life was about, but he changed mine. His illness and his death changed me in a positive way. I would give up that lesson in a heartbeat, if I could bring him back.But the man would kill me if I did anything less than take something positive out of this and I have.

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