19 February 2008

For Damon

This week, Damon would have been 32. I can't exactly remember his birthday, I think it was the 26th, but it was most definitely in the Pisces last week of February.

Damon was my best friend in my vulnerable and tumultuous Middle School and High School years. We met in the 6th grade when we were 11. I'm not sure what class it was as we had several classes together as we were about the same above average level of intelligence, our last names both started with 'D', and that we both chose to take French as our foreign language.

He was the Laurel to my Hardy, the Moe to my Curly. We were an odd pairing as we were two extremes; he was shorter and extremely skinny (almost skeletal, but I'll come back to that later) and I was as I am today, a bit on the overweight side. We hung out mostly just inside of school as he lived halfway across the small city I called home, but we did socialize outside of school just a handful of times. We didn't have everything in common; he didn't understand my art and music classes just as I didn't understand his business, accounting, and marketing classes, but somehow we made an unlikely pair.

Together we made fun of everything we couldn't stand: irritating teachers, different cliques, whatever we could have a laugh at. And it was that irreverent sort of piss-taking that helped me through troublesome points of my tweens and teens such as my parents' divorce and those peers who abused me. I hope that he felt that I was there for him in the same way when his mother passed away from the cancer later in high school.

Many semesters we were in the same gym class, and of course we were always the ones lagging behind the pack whilst running. Me of course for my obvious overweight issues, but his issues were not as apparent. As we ran, or more likely walked, he would have coughing fits that sounded very congestive. He then opened up to me and told me he had Cystic Fibrosis and that he was born with a collapsed lung, and that doctors only expected him to live until he was 19. To add to that, he also had pancreatic issues, which was why he could never put on weight.

While in college some 11 years ago, I got the call from my mother saying that she'd seen the news that Damon had passed away. I was stuck 5 hours from home without a car of my own, so I couldn't have made the wake in time. After we graduated high school, I saw him only on one occasion while walking through the local mall. I wished some things could have been different so that we could have had more time together. He impacted my life in a way no one else has ever.

If anyone takes anything away from this post, I hope that it's this: There is currently no cure for Cystic Fibrosis. If you can, please give to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I don't know the numbers but I'm sure there are plenty of kids and young adults who need your help, people that could be your relatives or friends.


Jayne said...

redbeard: Sorry about your friend. It sounds like you had a lot of laughs together which is important. If you have a friendship where you can laugh at each other and WITH each other then it is one of the best.

I don't know if you realise that I also have Cystic Fibrosis, hence my references to IVs and not putting weight on - stupid pancreas :0)

Kind thoughts to your friend and also many to you. xx

Redbeard76 said...

I didn't realize that, I saw a couple of references to CF on your blog but didn't make the link, as I've only known you for a few months now. Maybe I should go back and read some of your old posts.

Damon never told me about being hooked up to IVs, I didn't know that came with the territory. Maybe his doctors weren't aware of the methods of medicine in the UK, as might be the case in the hick town where I grew up.

Thanks for the kind words...

Jayne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jayne said...

The post that explains it all is below, don't know how to do links here so you'll have to copy and paste...


Don't fall asleep reading it....

Redbeard76 said...

Thanks for the link Jayne, oddly enough I didn't fall asleep, it kept me awake from my work which is obviously more tedious. 8^)

Seriously, very touching, I almost let a tear slip. But enough of this serious stuff. I'm now off to go cross-dress or something silly like that.

Jayne said...

Yay, cross dressing and.... infrastructure!!! I made fudge too today.

let's go crazy!!!

cake said...

I'm sorry about your friend, redbeard...I suspect we all have a friend like that in our past (or present) and it's important to remember them...


FUDGE?! *knocks over treasured friends and tramples them in race to Jayne's kitchen*

Anonymous said...

Hello Redbeard,
I found your post to be very moving and it sounds that you were both lucky to have each other as friends.
Carry on thinking of the good laughs that you used to have together, because that is what counts the most.
When you get the time it would be great to see more films of Sierra.

Best wishes, Jayne's MUM XXX

Redbeard76 said...

I'm aiming to do one video of Sierra per week, generally on a weekend since the week is so hectic. The sad thing is Sierra is usually already in bed by time I get home, so the only time I get to spend with her Monday through Friday is first thing in the morning as I dress for work, I'll give her breakfast. The toast is a special treat for her on weekends!

Mmmm fudge ::tries not to drool on keyboard::

Ted D said...

Stephen, very nice post, man.

And I bet if you could ask Damon now, he'd have the same things to say about you. You never know what your friendship meant to him, you know?

Jayne, pv's to you having to deal with your illness.

Sparkle Plenty said...

Here's to Damon, Redbeard. Thanks so much for talkin' about him.

~**Dawn**~ said...

Every time someone shares a story about a friend they lost too soon, I realize how blessed I am not to have experienced that kind of loss. Not of a friend anyway.

Did someone say fudge?? Can it be mailed to the spot where I have my face pressed against a fence around a ball field in Fort Myers. I hear Lowell is due to arrive tomorrow. ::content sigh::

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