It’s Personal

Quiet news day, huh?  There is so much strife, so many pointed sticks jabbing at us from every direction.  There are these poor people who were shot by the police.  There are those poor police officers in Dallas shot by a sniper.  Emails and anti-semitism.  When the election news takes a backseat to another story, you know there’s trouble.

And yet I confess, I can barely focus on these stories.  I just can’t get past the loss of my friend.  It’s personal.  He was special.  We say that about a lot of people but in this case, it was true.  As special as he was though, he suffered terribly with addiction problems.  I’ve spent the past couple days going over everything I can possibly remember, going back thirty years.  There were actually a lot of signs pointing to his issues but if you’re not looking for them, it’s easy to miss.  He was a very high functioning alcoholic/addict.  We’re all busy with our lives.  Stuck in our own heads.  We’re not always aware of what other people are going through.

The last time I saw Andrew, it was very apparent to me that he was in trouble.  We were meeting for dinner before the concert, in his hometown.  He showed up drunk. Not sloppy, falling down drunk.  He could function.  He was able to hold a coherent conversation.  But he was off.  He chain smoked.  We walked for maybe a minute from the car to the restaurant and he had to light a cigarette and take three puffs before we went in.  He did the  same thing in the parking garage before we took three steps to get into the elevator.

We talked for a while after the concert but I had a five hour drive home on a work night.  We said goodbye and I never saw him again.  I knew he was in trouble but not how much trouble.  I should have called Beth but I didn’t.  I should have kept in touch with him but I didn’t.  I’m not in any way saying this is my fault.  I just wish that I would have at least tried to help.  His life spiraled out of control and Beth had no choice but to divorce him. I never knew.  His drinking took over and he became estranged from his kids, who are now filled with guilt because their last words to him were harsh ones.  It’s such a sad story and it’s personal.  I can’t get past it.  Not yet.  We’re driving to Albany on Sunday to say goodbye and to give Beth a hug.  Hopefully, that will bring some closure and then, for the purposes of this blog, we can go back to all the shitty stories in the world that thankfully, are not personal.

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