Sorry to my readers, but this challenge will start off on a sad note, but it will get better. I promise!
Adam was my best friend. He passed away in 2012. Though he was nearly six years younger than me, and we got off to a rocky start in our acquaintance, he became my friend, my sounding board, my primary advisor, and the one person I could count on to tell me the truth.
We had met at a bar shortly after he turned 21. We had some mutual friends, but didn’t know one another. He had a “I’m better than you” attitude that night and I didn’t like him at all. We were nice to each other for the sake of our mutual friends, but neither of us expected to become friends.
Several months later, he applied for a job at the restaurant I worked for. Naturally, everyone thought we’d be a natural fit to work together as we worth both gay. (Side note: not all gay people know one another, nor do we all like each other.) We maintained a professional decorum, but we still weren’t impressed.
Having several mutual friends at work, and outside of work, we did end up hanging out frequently. I’m not exactly sure if there was a moment where we started leaning towards liking one another, but it happened.
Fast forward a few months and we actually enjoyed each other’s company. We hung out on our own a few times. He and I decided to hit a few gay bars, we liked our other straight friends, but sometimes it is nice to be in an environment where you can be who you are freely, without judgement. It became a weekly ritual. We’d take turns being the designated driver, so the other could drink and have a good time without risk of death on the way home.
It got to a point where we hung out a lot. We’d call or text each other constantly. Sometimes even sitting in the same room! We became closer and closer.
While our lives took different paths, he went into nursing, I remained in the restaurant industry, I started dating my now husband, he dated a few people, but wasn’t committed to any one long term. We still remained best friends. Even after he moved to Indianapolis and took a job as an RN at a hospital there, we still traveled back and forth to see one another, though not as frequently. Texts and calls kept our friendship alive.
Sadly, while we had both been recreational drugs users in our pasts, I had stopped and he had not. He wasn’t a pusher, and kept it in check most of the time. Once he moved however, his using became more. More addicting, more often, and more harmful to his self. He still respected that I was sober, often complimenting my will power to do so, but he was still using. More than I knew about at the time.
Toward the end of his too short life, he started dating a guy that I just couldn’t stand. He was a whiner, manic depressive, enabler, and just not a nice person. While I cannot blame him for Adam’s drug use, he sure didn’t help matters. He often brought drugs home for Adam to use, talked him into trying new drugs, and (most dangerously) got him into intravenous drug use. His major mood swings made Adam crazy and gave him an excuse to do drugs to deal with this guy. They were both spiralling out of control. Adam and I had several conversations about how I thought he needed to get away from this guy, and he agreed, but the drug addiction kept him coming back.
In the summer of 2012, the worst happened. Adam got a staph infection due to the intravenous drug use. He had to be hospitalized, have surgery, and be laid up for months. He told me he had finally gotten rid of the horrid person that was his now ex, but I knew they still had contact, and that worried me.
In late August of that year, my husband and I moved from Indiana to (near) Cincinnati, Ohio. Adam was home from the hospital, but not really well enough to travel from Indy to see the new place. We all had concert tickets later in late August/early September in Indy. That was to be the first time we had saw Adam in months. We never made it though, we had car trouble on the way, and had to call and cancel. Adam attended the concert with some friends he had made in Indy. We talked after and he had a good time, even though he probably shouldn’t have went due to his medical condition. We went about our lives, and we weren’t keeping in daily contact, though I wish we had been.
On the morning on September 14th, I got up and was drinking my coffee, going about life as usual. My husband came out to the porch where I was sitting and delivered the devastating news. He had read on Facebook that Adam was dead. I didn’t believe it, I got on my Facebook, I called him, I text…no answers. But I did learn that it was true. He was gone. I didn’t get to talk to him one last time. I didn’t get to see him. I hadn’t seen him in months and hadn’t talked to him in a few days. I felt like a horrible friend. He was 29 years old.
I still have unanswered questions about his death. Was it due to his infection? His drug use? Was it on purpose? Still many questions unanswered, but I honestly don’t need to know the answers. I need to remember who he was, the friend he was, the good times we had, the things we helped each other through. Those are the important things, not the details of a death.
I never expressed it in words to him, nor have I until writing this, but I hope he knew what he meant to me. He was my support system, my rock, my advisor, my sounding board, my critic, my truth, and my cheerleader. But most importantly, he was my friend.
I miss you Adam, not a day goes by I don’t think of you.