Goodnight, Nick

I miss my tribe

Decades ago, my mom was gardening in front of our apartment when a woman came out and started talking to her about plants.

She was Greek and spoke with a crazy thick Greek accent; my mom was Chinese and spoke with a crazy thick Chinese accent. Somehow, though, they connected – probably because both saw the world the same way,

They became best friends, to this day. Everyone finds it ridic cute, that these two lovely women found each other in this sad little world of ours.

When my dad died, it was this friend that called my mom constantly, just to make sure my mom was ok. That’s what friends do.

My mom wasn’t, of course, but her friend made it a little better, I think.

In any case, that woman’s husband, Nick, died earlier this week. I wasn’t super close with him, but he was in the fabric of my life since my earliest memories of the world.

Nick died this week right before his birthday, which bothers me greatly because Alison died just right after hers. And like Alison, and my dad, Nick suffered before he died. That makes me irrationally angry for reasons I can’t properly express.

Like Fouad and Kirk, he too died of pancreatic cancer. Three people I’ve known in less than a year. It boggles the mind and breaks the heart.

That pic above was taken almost 12 years to the day by my brother. Nick had come by for my sister’s birthday. They did things like that.

Their family has never shown us anything but kindness. When money, beauty, and possessions go away, kindness stays. That’s why I’m a sucker for kindness; it’s the only thing really worth anything in this shitty world.

It’s my mom’s turn to support her friend now. It’s hard; my mom just had surgery and this damn pandemic hangs over us all. But she does what she can.

A man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own. This was and remains true. There’s nothing I can do or say to my mom’s best friend beyond, I’m sorry, and I understand. Cold comfort, but the truth, nonetheless.

It’s good they have each other. Life’s hard enough without your people. She’s Greek, my mom’s Chinese, but they’re both part of the same tribe. In that sense, they’re lucky.

All we really have in the world are our tribes; the people that love us, I suppose.

Everything else is just hot breath and lies. And what good is that, in the end?

Goodnight, Nick. Your family misses you very much. We all do.

All this death around me wears on my psyche, I think. I’ve been talking to other people that, like me, have dealt with depression in the past.

Buddy: I haven’t hugged anyone in over a month!
Me: Dude, me neither. I don’t think I’ve touched another human being in over a month. I’ve also not hugged my son in this time, which is excruciating.
Him: Man, that must suck.
Me: So much. So much.

I miss my son terribly. When this is over, I’m gonna hug the crap outta him.

He’s gonna complain the entire time and I’m not gonna care, I’m just gonna do it. I’m bigger than he is and there won’t be anything he’ll be able to do about it.

I cannot wait.

Podcast Version: Goodnight, Nick
Location: you’d never guess
Mood: sad and pensive, and missing the people I love
Music: If we never met, I’d be drunk, waking up in someone else’s bed (Spotify)
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