What My Best Friend’s Death Taught Me

I’ve never met anyone who took losing someone they love well. It’s hard to imagine life without that one person you couldn’t imagine it without. But contrary to popular belief, there is life after death. I guess Biggie knew what he was talking about, talk about being a man before his time. My life after death scenario wasn’t easy. On February 4th, 2007, my best friend Brian lost his battle to cancer.

Super Bowl Sunday will NEVER be the same for me ever again, which is probably one of the reasons I struggle to watch the sport now because it brings back this reality.

That day goes down in history as one of the most traumatic experiences that I have ever been through to date. First time, I lost someone that I know, someone that I care for, someone I love. Funny thing is, that Sunday I was supposed to go over his house and watch the game with him. I called his phone, his cousin picked up and was like “Brian can’t speak right now”. Brian being his curious self inquired to know who was on the phone, after hearing it was me, he took the call. The conversation was short, he let me know he wasn’t feeling too well, and that I didn’t have to come all the way over to watch the game. Later that night, I remember getting a phone call from one of our mutual friends.

And because her and I never really spoke on the phone, I already knew what time it was. I remember being devastated, I remember crying my eyes out, I remember questioning God. I was hurt. Shit I still am. I lost my best friend.

Someone who’d taught me so much in a short amount of time. It’s crazy how much you can learn from someone, your peer at that. Where was I going to find another philly cheesesteak eating, JayZ loving, bible preaching, toe picking, mama’s boy to call friend again? Brian was a wise man, looking back at it, would’ve never admitted that to his face though. Lol. I remember going to the hospital to visit him and because I couldn’t stand to see him in that condition. I’d tear up. Brian would say, “Come on son, cut it out.” He’d never understand though. I’d literally witnessed the deterioration of his body right before me. But although his body was changing, that glow in his eyes never left. Damn, as I’m writing this, it brings back old times. I remember sharing our poetry over the phone until the wee hours of the morning. I remember getting ready to attend your wake, some of my friends and I had gotten ready at my grandmother’s house, I wore a green dress because it was your favorite color. I’d written a speech and included everything that I ever wanted to tell you. My only regret and I beat myself about this daily, was not telling him “I love you too” while he was still alive to hear it. At the end of all of our conversations, Brian would ALWAYS say I love you. I’d chuckle, and say “Lata” because we NEVER said “Bye”. He knew that I loved him, wished I would’ve vocalized it though.

Below is a list of some of the gems that I’ve learned from him:

  1. SPEAK YOUR MIND. Don’t allow anyone to silence your thoughts. Don’t wait until it’s too late to say something. If you’re urged to speak on something, don’t hesitate. Never assume people “get it”, ALWAYS let people know how you feel.
  2. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. Brian was always unapologetically himself. Whether it came to him picking his toes in public. Lol. Or growing out his pinky nail. Or being the first “shotta” I ever met. What you saw is what you got and I guess that’s why everybody loved him.
  3. CHASE YOUR PASSION. After Brian’s death, I hadn’t picked up a pen to write in years. Opportunities kept presenting themselves with clear signs that I should be writing. People, some that I barely knew would always compliment me on my ability to have a way with words. Whatever you’re good at, keep at it til you’re fuckin GREAT. The unfortunate thing about us humans is that others see the best in us before we have a chance to.
  4. DOCUMENT. DOCUMENT. DOCUMENT. Take as many pictures as possible. Have them printed and stored somewhere. Memories are cool, but even better when you have a visual to connect it to. I have no physical pics of Brian & I together, and I could kick myself.
  5. STAND IN LOVE. DON’T FALL IN LOVE. He used to preach this so much. This is pretty self explanatory. Too often, people get in “situationships” and get weak for that person, hence “falling”, when they should maintain their strength and not lose themselves.

I hope you guys can gain from my loss as I have. There will never be anyone quite like Brian, but the lessons I’ve been blessed to learn from him will last a lifetime.

 

Forever stripped,

D.Wil xoxo

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