my friend is dying (edited)

my friend is dying.

in my last post, a few days ago, I put in a postscript.

[Written for Mike. Co-worker, conspirator, complete asshole, and dear dear friend. You are much, much missed. You'd better show your face soon, you prick].

I keep writing and rewriting lines in this post. I have very mixed feelings about even writing a post on this, because this is not about me, and I don't want it to be. But I also feel I can't let this moment go unmarked. In years to come, when this little archive becomes a way to remember, I want to remember.

So I am here, messily remembering.

Mike has been my dear friend for a decade now. I have worked with him for eight of those. I have seen him every day in the grind. He is brilliant and hilarious and caustic and curmodgeonly. He is an a-1 asshole with a broad shoulder to lean on. Mean-spirited and big-hearted. He can be trusted to make you laugh your ass of at your own self (and, ok, various others) but is there for you at a drop of a hat.

He is 37.

Last Friday morning Mike had a stroke. He called his wife at work at and said "I think I am having stroke. I am calling an ambulance. Come home." His wife sped home to find one of her sons on the front lawn, ready to flag down the paramedics.

He was lucid in the ambulance but faded at the hospital. He suffered a stroke.

At first we thought he would rally. His pupils dilated and he responded to his name, even when under sedation. All the signs said "it will be tough, but he will be back.

But now he is bleeding and he will be lost to everyone by tomorrow. To his wife, and to his three boys. This morning his two eldest boys came to the hospital to say goodbye. Ethan, 12, and Harrison, 6. He youngest was born in June, and will have no memory of his father.

How do you write about something like this? But how can you not say anything?

Mike. I am so so so fucking sorry. You are so very loved, and you will be so very missed. If it were not for you, I would not be leaving this Friday. I'll never forget that.

Mike slipped away this evening, Saturday, September 8th, 2007. It was the night of our going away party. We ate American Fayre to mark our occasion--chicken with a beer can up its butt and mac and cheese and smoked ribs. There was much boozing.

I know he would have approved.