Time runs out like toilet paper
didn't feel like writing.
The usual excuses.
Excuses..we are good at that we humans.
Always a reason why...
or more often why not.
Why we haven't written, why we haven't called, why we haven't visited.
After all we have ALL the time in the world. We have tomorrow, we have next week, we have next year.
The toilet paper roll never has an end.
Or so we think.
Time ran out for one of my friends this week and left me wishing we hadn't gotten to the end of the roll so fast.
My Internet friend of the last 11 years.
Rick was a wonderful guy. Funny, smart, straightforward, loving, able to say what you needed to hear even when you didn't want to hear it, wise, forgiving, amazing, annoying at times, loyal. I met Rick online in a chat program called Pow Wow when I first got on the net. What first attracted me to him was his sense of humour. Very tongue in cheek, thumb your nose kind of humour.
I read his web page and instantly liked the guy. When we started to chat I liked him even more. He remained my devoted friend for the next 11 years. Sometimes we'd have long email talks that went on for days, sometimes we'd not talk for weeks. We chatted on pow wow, ICQ, sent e-mail, I sent him snail mail and then most recently I goaded him into trying Facebook.
Rick was always there for me. He always made time. Maybe because time stretched on endlessly for him some days. Rick had had an accident when he was 19 and was left a quadriplegic. He had limited use of his hand and would painstakingly type out every sentence. I know it must have taken a lot of effort on his part. But write he would. On the net he was 'normal'..he wasn't a guy in a chair to be pitied. He could be himself and many of his friends never knew the true story behind him or even saw what he looked like. I was one of the lucky few who got that privilege. Maybe because to me it didn't matter. I'd sass his ass anyway. I could give wheelchair jokes just like he could. Maybe it was because we genuinely cared about each other.
Rick was there for me through my divorce, the death of my dad (and his a short time after) and the tumultuous years that followed when I was trying to get back on my feet and figure out who I was and what I wanted in life. He was patient with me when I needed it...rude to me when I needed a kick in the butt, and made me fall off my chair with laughter. Laughter is good for the soul. He was special. We never met face to face and my one regret is that I'll never get to give him a hug. Rick died last Thursday..three weeks after having a stroke. He was only 45. I found out on Monday night and I cried and cried and cried. I'm still crying and not wanting to believe I will never be the butt of one of his jokes again.
Now a lot of people might find it weird to be so upset over someone I had never 'met' in real life. But what really is real? To me Rick was. He was more of a friend to me than some of the people I see every day. He took the time to care, to love. Was it because he was stuck in a wheel chair and had nothing better to do?? If it is I wish we could all be like Rick. Take all the excuses away so that we could really care about the people in our lives. Take away the distractions and the chores and the lists. Slow down. Listen. Love. Go that extra mile. Be a friend. MAKE the time because it isn't going to last forever. One day you'll be scrambling to catch the end of that toilet paper roll before you're finished wiping. And your left crying and can't even blow your nose.
I didn't get to tell Rick goodbye.
There were a couple times over the years he had scares and ended up in the hospital and we never knew if he'd make it back out. This time I didn't even know he had gone in.
I had gotten distracted. A couple weeks slipped through my fingers doing this, that and the other and when I finally came up for air Rick was gone.
Just like that.
No do overs.
No second chances.
One day we are just gone.
And tomorrow never comes.
And the things that were so important, that kept us so busy, don't seem quite so important anymore.
It's time to flush.
and we wish we could get it all back or have one more week, one more day..one more moment. One more chance to say I love you and I am glad you are a part of my life.
One more chance to say thank you.
So tonight I am saying thank you to Rick.
For all he was.
For all he did.
For all the ways he made my life better.
and I am promising too to slow down a bit. To really look at all the special people in my life and appreciate them more. And not be so stressed about the 'important' things.
A friend of mine once said "In a hundred years we'll all be dead and none of this will matter".
I'd like to add "except for the love we have left behind".
God speed Rick. You left lots of love behind.
Rick loved many people. He touched many hearts and healed many souls around the world.
And just in case you didn't know it....I loved you too my friend.