Appreciating friendship thru Kevin

Part of the process of returning to Los Angeles has been reconnecting with my old friends. Some of these reunions have been wonderful, fluid, and easy -- like it never had a five year pause in between. Some of them have proven to be difficult, and the little girl in me wonders: Did I  hurt you? Please tell me what I've done. Forgive me, friend.

I think I just have to learn to let go.

One of the most difficult reunions I've had thus far was with my friend Kevin. A couple of weeks ago, I laid in bed and made a list of people I wanted to reconnect with. People I had not seen in a long time. On this list, I wrote down a name of my very special friend, Kevin.   The next day, as if the universe was answering my question, I received a message telling me that Kevin was in the hospital for pneumonia, that he was in a coma, and that he was not going to wake up. My heart sank.

Kevin, Amos, John and Me during
Ugly Sweater Party 2008
What to say now? Hm. Now, it's Kevin in my mind and in the mind of all who knew him. Now is Kevin, remembering Kevin, loving Kevin. Glimpses of squeezing his hand coming to my mind, telling him I'm sorry for being far away and for not making time, telling him jokes while his body breathed, telling him secrets, and watching him listen while we tried to find the right words to say goodbye. Trying to be strong, but cracking at the sight of him attached to things that were not supposed to be there because that's not how we knew him. 

"I can still hear him so clearly," we say to one another.

Justin, me and Kevin with that amazing smile.
This is growing up, I suppose, watching people you love leave this realm.  Kevin was twenty-seven years old. And it was painful to say goodbye. But thanks to Kevin, I  am reminded that friendship is not just clicking a "Like" button. Friendship is hard, in-your-face, gritty, silly, sleepovers, spiteful, vengeful, sexy, farts, hilarious, stupid, old and young fun; it's yelling at the top of your lungs by an old castle in Ireland, it's tearing up a picture of your RA and putting him on your roommates bedroom door to freak her out, it's renting a cabin at Joshua tree because you just want to take pictures of your friends in vintage dresses, it's giving you a shell so that you'll always hear the ocean, it's karaoke at a gay bar and singing Journey to a bunch of strangers - Glee style, it's turning the lights off in a school auditorium so your friends can have make out time with their boyfriends who don't know how to kiss, it's drinking wine under a bridge and talking about childhood traumas and how they make us stronger, it's hurting your feelings in front a bunch of strangers at a baby shower so you can get your head out of your ass, it's filming her while she spanks a tree during a scavenger hunt, it's stopping the car so your mom can take a picture with The Cat in The Hat, it's a boy named Kevin laying in bed and telling his mother all the qualities of his friends via nicknames, it's finding out that your nickname was "Flower-Child-Dancer-Friend."

It seems that I came back to Los Angeles just in time to say goodbye to you, my dearest Kevin. And for that, I thank God, the universe, Mother Earth, your spirit and your magic. I will always be grateful for having you in my life. Thank you for reminding me what friendship really is, and how important it is. Thank you for being my friend. 

I love you.

A drawing I gave Kevin after a visit.

Dinner after saying goodbye to Kevin, Feb 11, 2015

Drinks after Kevin's Memorial - Feb 28, 2015
(Thank you for the image Jeane Wong)