The One About Mortality

First, let me make this clear, I have many friends who have the same or similar names. I often write about my close friend Brien Travis and I want you to know he is alive and well.

Saturday night before Mother's Day, a friend of mine from school died of a heart attack. I am shocked to hear of a heart attack in one so young. I am saddened beyond belief for countless reasons. One being we had not kept in touch. I suppose there never was much of a reason to. Our mothers were friends. We had mutual friends. We always knew what the other was doing. And I can't remember ever calling each other in high school. Yet our families and friends have been mutual since the second grade. So you see, I never thought there would be a world without Brian McCoart.

In my eyes Brian will always be big and strong. Standing there with a chewed up drinking straw in his mouth, he was the picture of virility. (I always worried he would swallow and choke on that straw though.) Brian and I were friends and yet I have no doubt he was one to call me Jane the Brain or Goody-Two-Shoes. I didn't care. I liked him too much. I did wish he would've avoided me as a target during those grueling dodge ball games we were forced to play at St. Bernadette. But I was so slow-moving, I'm sure he couldn't help himself. He was just so intensely likeable.

Perhaps because he is part of a group of people that so strongly imprinted upon me that I can remember how he parted his hair, how he walked, how he smiled, and I don't even recall the last time I saw him. That's probably the benefit of having gone to such a small school where most of us stayed together all through the elementary years. In Brian's case, we went to high school together as well.

I got the news about Brian from my friend Jay. We've been friends since we were 13. He lived across the street from Brian. I spent most of Sunday just thinking about Brian McCoart and remembering. I had no idea there were so many Brian memories tucked away. I regret now that I had not taken the time to reconnect with him.

Yes, he knew where I was. I know that. I went to college and then left the state. I don't go to Virginia very often. Maybe the last time I saw him was at his father's funeral. That was a really good wake right before the ceremony. My husband was shocked at all the talking and laughing right next to the body. Everyone was happy. Not that the man was dead. Of course not. I suppose you have to be there to appreciate an Irish Catholic wake. It can be a joyous occasion.

As I suppose it is meant to do, this death has caused me to think about the big picture. I do tend to get mired in minutiae. First of all, if I go tonight, I'm sorry. The house is a mess. Nothing's in order. But, it never has been. Small parts of my life are well organized and the rest is just a bit untidy. It always has been. I am guessing that my tendency toward procrastination and sloppiness is not going to change. I might modify it from time to time, but Felix Unger I will never be. Hey, I am old enough to know my own limitations.

This does compel me not to waste anything. Time. Opportunity. Friendship. Family. Well, family's stuck with me. My friends could dump me if they wanted to to. Opportunity I have to make for myself and time, hopefully, is on my side. But time, that's the tricky one. It's the only one out of my control.

I'm sure Brian felt the same way. Who wouldn't? He didn't get up Saturday morning and expect to die Saturday night. I'm guessing he had things he had planned to do. Things that were important to him. Since I had my job taken from me in January, there have not been as many things that were important to me as there once was. I think it's time for that to change.

I'll miss you Brian.