Memories and Missed Moments: A Time to Live and a Time to Remember

Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.
Bob Dylan

I’m not a huge Dylan fan – but he really has a point.

Every once in a while – you have to take a moment to stop and be grateful for everything you have – right then and there – in that present moment. So many times we get caught up living in the past or looking towards the future. It fuels anger, creates anxieties and lessens our quality of life. In turn – our present moments – will someday be memories. Memories that you can never have again. Moments passing you by.
I’d prefer to have those solid memories and look onto them with happiness – knowing I appreciated them WHEN THEY WERE HAPPENING as much as I am appreciating recollecting them.

Recently, I lost a good high school friend of mine. He was part of our quintessential “clique” of teenage boys and girls. Hanging in parks and playing in (or in my case “watching”) garage bands, piggy back rides and first kisses, late night horror movies and prom dates. Some of us kept in touch, some went our separate ways. Joe and I hadn’t spoken in years – we had lost contact with each other – as people often do. But – I would often think of him from time to time. In pictures, videos or yearbook scribblings – I would think of how we’ve all turned into a gaggle of goofy and successful adults. Past discretions forgiven and nothing but coo’s and coddles for weddings, new homes, jobs and babies ….

So, when I heard that Joe had passed away – it shook me. It was hard to comprehend how someone – so full of life could be gone. That life is truly fleeting. No chance to connect on Social Media, no opportunity to meet up at a bar or restaurant and no 35 year class reunion to reminisce at. Just memories.

When I lost my father – eight years ago – my world was shattered and I suppose losing Joe is kind of like losing a piece of my dad. My dad really liked Joe and the other guys that were part of the group (probably more than they even knew). They took the time to talk to my dad, sit with him and listen to him. He appreciated it. Truthfully.

Long after high school – my dad would talk about “the guys” and ask me if I knew how they were doing or what they were up to. And more often than not – I didn’t really know. It was a world – pre Facebook and keeping in contact meant a spontaneous meet up around town.  The last time I saw Joe – my dad was sick.  Joe was genuinely heartbroken. When I went home that night and told my dad – I had seen Joe – he smiled – weakly BUT happily and asked how he was doing.

Big Joe – I’ll never forget sitting next to you – the first day of English class freshman year in Mr. Nappen’s class.  Or Mary and me catching you coming out of  Romeo and Juliet – crying. Telling us “oh you guys – the ending – it’s just SO SAD”.  Or you and Mark getting hysterical when I told you I liked Danzig’s Mother. Or late night horror movies at Kathleen’s. Or – watching how your face would light up – when you would tell the story of being on Steampipe Alley. Or dancing outside of JL’s house to a bootleg copy of The Undertones’ True Confessions.  Or you coming over my house – shaking hands with my dad and teaching him the ins and outs of Punk Rock.

You were a great friend Joey – O and you will be missed by so, so many people.

It’s never easy to say goodbye and I know we can’t relive the memories …. but I’m so grateful to have them.



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