Wednesday, July 23, 2008

For Dear Neil

I got word today that Neil, an old friend of mine, had passed away. He was 56...and had been on vacation with his family.

I am extremely sad -- for me, for his friends, for his family. And his passing brings up alot of memories and questions in my life, especially in view of how my life is now. Neil was one of my major "should I have zigged when I ended up zagging?".

He was one of the funniest human beings on the face of the planet. He was also kind, generous, gentle..and did I mention funny? I never dated a human being in my life that made me laugh more than he did. And I'm not waxing poetic because he's not here anymore. Ask anyone who knew him and they would tell you. There was no one funnier who did not get paid for their talent.

One time, for Lent, he sent me an envelope with a piece of dryer fuzz. The note said, "So what are you doing for Lint?" That was it. That was Neil.

We met when he was a writer at the Trib and I was a college age assistant in the sports department. Because many of the high school and college finals come in late on Friday and Saturday, he was in charge, many times, of "babysiting" the people like me who took results over the phone and turned them into basic stats for the paper. We ended up being good friends and then began dating.

He ended up getting an offer from another paper in another state and it made it hard for both of us. He wanted me to marry him and go with him. I was in college, unsure of what I wanted, and felt our relationship wasn't at the stage we should be talking marriage. And I was too frightened to move 1000 miles away and end up in a broken relationship. I was just afraid. Afraid. So he ended up moving and we wrote and talked continually. But as things happen, long distance romances just don't work. When he'd come to visit, it was hard because I was unsure of myself, scared of my feelings, scared of his. I knew he loved me and loved me completely. Many times I think I should have taken a chance and gone with him. Many times, I think I was right to stay here to nurse my parents until their deaths, have the children that I do. Even go through the pain of divorce from WAM.

Neil did several amazing things for me some of which I had forgotten. I forgot to remember how special he told me I was, how beautiful, how funny, how loving. And in typical Neil style, he had a friend named Bill, who had moved to Chicago with his wife who was from Delaware. Well, Bill's wife didn't know a soul. Was miserable and wanted to go back to what she knew. When Neil called her one time to see how she was, she told him she was miserable. He told her he could fix that.

He called me and asked me to call her. I did. We talked for 3 hours and went to see "Ordinary People" and have a couple beers. That was longer ago than I want to admit to. And she and I lost contact a bit with our lives going in crazy directions, but she emailed me to tell me about Neil. And we talked a long time and realized how much we missed each other and all the incredible laughs we had.

My dear Neil....I miss you. I'll remember the things you told me. I thank you for bringing Bill and his family into my life....and I thank you again for helping me renew the friendship I have with Dona.


redcat said...

I am so terribly sorry. With everything else going on, this is something you don't need. God bless you, and God bless Neil. I KNOW what a friend he had in YOU; and if he loved you half as much as I do....

He's still there, just like the two Roses. Keep talking to him.

Love always...

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

Ahh. I'm so sorry. What a great tribute to a good friend.

Big hugs to you tonight.

PopArtDiva said...

I found your blog through Malcolm's Blog List - I liked your blog title.

I'm so very sorry you lost a dear friend. It is so very hard to say goodbye.

I love the lint in the envelope story! What a funny, quirky and loving thing to get in the mail!

Your post to Neil was a wonderful tribute.

My condolences.

On a limb with Claudia said...

((hug)) I am very sorry for your loss. thank you for sharing such a wonderful person.

No Nonsense Girl said...

I'm sorry for your loss Lara. You are in my thoughts and prayers