I miss him.
Tomorrow it will be one week that he’s been gone.
I have his spittoon – I don’t spit so I’m not yet sure what I will do with it, but it will be in a place of honor in my home.
My children do spit so they asked if they could have it.
Yeah, I’m not really thinking that giving up my precious memorabilia to support my children’s chew addiction is a road down which I want to head.
One said to me, “Just don’t do something dumb like put flowers in it.”
Which is exactly what I was thinking of doing.
I don’t think that’s dumb. It’s certainly not as dumb as filling your lower lip full of foul-tasting, cancer-causing, drool-inducing shit
In the grand scheme of things, I didn’t really know Wally for all that long. But as soon as I had the opportunity, I was determined to be friends with him and I went for it.
And friends we were.
I haven’t had a lot of deathbed experience. All I knew to do was to just be with him. Listen to him. Joke about him dying. Feed him.
I’m Italian – feeding people is my default.
He was Italian – eating good food was his default.
I found joy and peace at his side. He was not a “zen” kind of guy. Sometimes he was even an asshole, to be quite honest. But he only showed me love.
When I was distressed in my life, I found that talking to him helped ease my mind and my heart.
During those last days he was stubborn as an ox, (or mule, or ass, really) and then he was tender and nostalgic and full of memories that he wanted to share. I was (one of) the listeners.
He told me about the love of his life – one of the few women he hadn’t married – he wrote her while I sat with him and asked her to come see him. He called her a “warrior princess.” I couldn’t wait to meet this woman who had captured the heart of this extraordinary and somewhat abrasive man.
She’s badass – I totally get why he loved her. She came, he let go.
I went to his house the last night he was coherent – he called and said, “I could use a laugh.” We drank grapefruit sodas, got stoned, talked about his children, his bike, his dog. He knew this was it.
He told me on the phone before I went over there that he had “days, not weeks.” Part of me didn’t believe him – this man had come so close so often…
And yet, while I sat there, I knew. Something was different. He was ready to let go. He was tired.
He asked for an extra pain pill – I said, “Wally, you’re not doing what I think you’re doing are you? Because I’ll do it, but I want to know I’m doing it – don’t fuck with me.”
“Nah,” he said shaking his head.
My eyes welled up, “Wally, I’m going to cry.”
When he began to falter in his conversation, I hoped it was the pain medication, but when I spoke with a friend afterwards, she said, “No, this is what happens when it gets bad.”
I went to see him just a few hours before he died; he was already gone – absolutely no idea that I (or anyone else) was there, so saying “goodbye” was just awkward. I didn’t have any deathbed speeches prepared or final thoughts that needed expressing. I certainly wasn’t going to weep and wail.
We’d had such a sweet night the night before – I didn’t need anything else. There wasn’t anything else that needed saying. I’m not left with “Oh I wish I’d had time to…”
I just really fucking miss him.