Tag Archives: memorial

Awake

I’m sure I’ll go back and post my specific feelings about this at length, but my friend Scotty passed away this weekend. For now, instead of getting into the emotional stuff, I shared one of my favorite memories of my Scotty over on Five By Five Hundred, because frankly, it was the only thing I was capable of thinking of.

Rest in peace, brother.

“Scotty, Or That Time I Wasn’t 21” on FiveByFiveHundred.com

The Past, The Present, and The Imperfect Future Walk Into a Bar…

Things have been less than ideal as of late, as my girlfriend’s best friend quite abruptly passed away from an unexpected heart attack at the age of 28. As you can imagine, it’s been a very rough and emotional week.

I could very well fill this blog with my thoughts and feelings on the occasion, but anything factual I would attempt to type would feel disingenuous, so here are a few posts catching up on Five By Five Hundred that were inspired by the situation.

Rest in peace, Crystal Gomes. I guess a light as bright as yours is bound to burn out much too fast.

“Being Tense” on FiveByFiveHundred.com

“The Old Maid on the Bar Stool” (part one) (part two) on FiveByFiveHundred.com

In Memory

2 years ago today, I lost my oldest friend in life to suicide. For my post on FiveByFiveHundred.com, I decided to look at these two years and how it’s affected me. There’s not much else to write about that isn’t covered elsewhere, but it just serves to remind us that is life is precious, and no one’s life “isn’t worth it.” Even two years later, Mike’s death has a profound affect on me every day. Sure, I handle it better now — but suicide never goes away. It never gets better. So think before you act, whether you’re experiencing your own feelings of self-harm, or whether your actions might have that affect on someone else.

I miss you, Mike.

“The Stage or the Curtain” at FiveByFiveHundred.com

(If you’re looking for some more not-so-light reading, I wrote a [fairly abstract and Beckett-esque] play about this as well. It premiered in Hollywood in April of 2010 — too late, of course, for Mike to have ever seen it. But theatre was his only real salvation in life, so maybe somehow, I can keep him alive on the stage, because I think that’s how he would have liked it.)

T-Shirt of the Dead: In Shocking 3D!

Apologies for missing last week’s post on Five By Five Hundred — my good friend Moose got married over the weekend (congrats, buddy!) and between the bachelor party, the wedding itself, and the various in town for the same festivities, I kind of forgot that Monday was a holiday, and that I had a piece due. Whoops!

Better late than never right?

My new entry for last week (’cause, ya know, I’m a time traveller n’ shiz) was inspired by Fashion Week — and, more specifically, the fact that t-shirts and Facebook pages have all but replaced gravestones as the default memorials of our deceased friends. So it’s a slightly surreal prose/poetry meditation on the fact that dead friends are now fashionable. But not like, wearing the skin of dead people — that’s just weird, man.*

“We Will Become T-Shirts” on FiveByFiveHundred.com

*Unless you’re some kind of Nordic Barbarian or something, in which case, well, to each his own, I guess. Who am I to judge?

Pets That Go Poop

Just over a year ago, one of my chinchillas passed away. Pedey (short for “Dustbath Pedroia”) was always the stubborn one of the two — the bully older sister — who thought herself some total badass, when in fact she was, well, a chinchilla. As far as we can tell, the cause of death was heatstroke — she was a little overweight from stealing her sister’s food every day, and was too stubborn to sit up on a hot day and get a drink of water.

But the saddest part about it (because to be honest, she was a pretty mean pet) was her sister who survived her. Yubnub was always the sweet one, and say what you will about animals and emotion and memory, but for a good month following the loss of sister, Yubnub was visibly depressed. I’d let her out of the cage to run around the house, and she would just sit there, not caring. She was always a little skittish when she was picked up by a human, but for that month, she had no reaction at all — and not in a good way. She hardly ate. She didn’t even get excited when she heard the crinkling of the raisin bag (a sound which otherwise inspires a Pavlovian response within her).

After about a month of caring for her (making sure she didn’t die from depression!) and letting her know confidently that I am part of her “herd” (which is what they say to do with lonely ‘chillas), Yubnub seemed fine. In the intervening year, she’s been completely normal. Maybe a little lonely sometimes without another playmate, but, well, Pedey was never very playful anyway, and usually just picked on her. While I imagine that the trauma of losing a loved one has essentially disappeared from her small chinchilla brain, I suspect that somewhere inside she still senses something missing. It might not be a conscious realization or memory, but there’s something in her muscles — she can tell that there used to be someone or something different here, and that it’s missing, but she might not know what that something is.

This week on FiveByFiveHundred.com, after spending a great deal of time with Yubnub over the weekend (there was a heatwave here in Boston, and we hid out together in the only room with air conditioning), I decided to pay homage to the departed Dustbath Pedroia. While comparing her memories to, well, poop might seem a bit insensitive, it’s really not — chinchillas (fun fact!) lack sphincter muscles, and thus have no control over their own bowel movements, which means that Yubnub just keeps dropping little tiny poops on the ground behind her without any regard for it. Chinchillas also poop out 90% of what they consume so…it’s a lot of poop for a tiny animal (and, admittedly, the biggest drawback to owning one). The ease with which she poops seemed like a fitting metaphor for the way her memory works, so I went with it.

“Shit For Brains” on FiveByFiveHundred.com

How Are You?

On Thursday, March 25th, Mitchell Dubey was murdered in his home in New Haven. I never knew Mitchell myself, but he touched the lives of countless people whom I’ve known, and left a lasting, positive impact on these people and the community of which they are a part. Last night, his friends put together a benefit concert for Mitchell’s family, who has suffered a great deal in the past year, and successfully raised over $23,000, and completely sold out Toad’s Place, a famous music venue in New Haven. It was a glorious sight to behold, a celebration of his life and the things he loved.

(And yes, that is a GIANT photo of me getting a wristband from the doorman at the concert. Embarrassing. I wish they could have featured someone else who knew Mitchell personally. But, I’ll take it.)

I feel strange that I never had the chance to meet Mitchell, but he touched the lives of so many people that I’ve known a long time, and left a lasting, positive impact on a community that I care greatly for, even though I don’t live there anymore. I don’t want to rob my grief from those that actually knew Mitchell and were so greatly affected by this loss, but I was overwhelmed by the amount of love on display last night. Mitchell Dubey left a mark on the lives of so many people that I have known, and so, by extension, his life has affected mine, and I think that is the very definition of community.

This week’s post on Five By Five Hundred is dedicated to Mitchell. It was inspired by an interaction that I had at the show with my old friend Jerry Morgan. We haven’t seen each other in a long time, and have never done well keeping in touch, but I think we were both happy to see each other, barring the circumstances. Jerry knew Mitchell through the bicyclist and vegan communities in New Haven, as well as the music scene, and when we both asked each other how we “were,” we both understand what it meant — what has your life been like since we last spoke, excepting the detail of your friend’s gruesome murder. Fortunately Jerry always remains positive, and took our “How are you?”s in good humor, and it sparked a conversation.

Before I link you selfishly to my writing, here’s a video of Mitchell taken by a complete stranger in California several years ago. It only makes me wish I knew him more.

Check out “Three Words” on FiveByFiveHundred.com