Just over a month ago I wrote a somewhat humorous rant to a college buddy, Leo Winters. And now he's passed away.
He replied to my rant with his recent experiences becoming a middle-aged man, too, getting fat, and then cleaning up his diet to lose 50 pounds. He said he mainly just started eating healthier, cutting out junk food, soda, chips and processed meats in favor of lighter stuff with more natural ingredients.
He offered me some advice on dietary supplements, lemon balm and red clover. He said the lemon balm helped him sleep better and get closer to the required 7 hours a night.
Then a few weeks ago he went into the hospital himself with liver and kidney problems. The first word was that he wasn't going to leave, then he started getting better, sending more emails, complaining about the medication and about the new PlayStation 4 games he'd gotten to keep from being bored there.
Then two weeks back he died in the hospital...
I guess it hits pretty hard because while a few of my old friends have passed away, not many, just a few, none of them were as close a friend to me as LeoDude was...
Sure, life had taken us different directions since we were going to Oregon Tech together, and sometimes we only emailed sporadically. But the time at OIT we were such close friends that this is kind of hard.
And the last email exchange I'd initiated to complain about my own bad health, and he's the one who passes away.
I mean, I don't feel guilt, it's not anything I did (except maybe encouraging a lot of unhealthy drinking back in our younger days), but I feel awfully bad about it.
Since then I've only been listening to music that he got me into, Skinny Puppy, A Split Second, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult and so forth. And thinking of old conversations we had, some of which I wish I could clarify, but now it's too late.
Below is what I wrote on his Facebook wall after hearing the news that he passed away...
-- -- --
Aw shit, dude…
I know I started us writing emails back and forth last month complaining about becoming middle-aged men, but I didn’t mean to skip it altogether!
I guess now you’ve done exactly what you said that one night when we recorded you talking in your sleep, “I’m going to de-energize…. totally…” And now we’ll have no more opportunities to eat breakfast and listen to recordings of what you talk about when you dream.
Anyway, those sure were fun times back at Oregon Tech… I felt a bit like a fish out of water for the first half of the year, until someone introduced us and I started to hang out with you. That was when I finally felt like I belonged there.
I suppose now you never will answer that question I ask every few years about what song that was you used to play on a tape when driving your Plexipod car our freshman year at college… I keep buying CDs from the group I thought it was, but nothing sounds like it did when we were teenagers.
This must now be the ultimate swim in the Shark Zone, huh…
“Ch… Ch….” … … (after 25 years of this game, I guess this round goes unfinished.)