Someone I knew not nearly as well as I should have passed away yesterday, and I’ve been trying to take time to process my thoughts and feelings on the tragedy.
I should’ve talked with him more. I should’ve engaged and not shrunk into my shell when he said “Hi” to me at SCA events and meetings. I should’ve … Well, I could fill the whole Internet with shoulda/coulda/wouldas here. Suffice it to say, a great man died, and rather than using my words to console friends and chosen family–other than to send my condolences in a private message to his wife–I spent my day reading how he touched others’ lives and wondering why I wasn’t touched the same way.
In the end, I determined it was my fault. My shyness and social anxiety kept me from knowing this man as well as everyone else did. Sure, I said “Hi” back, and I hugged back, and I answered any questions he asked about how I was doing and such, but I didn’t force myself to really listen and ask questions of my own. The last thing I said to him was something along the lines of “Oh, gallbladder surgery is a piece of cake.”
His gallbladder, it turned out, was not the problem.
So why didn’t I send a Facebook message to him when his wife, who I know a little better, sent out requests for kind words, silly memes, and comfort? I certainly had been Facebook friends with him long enough that I should’ve been able to send a meme to cheer him up in the hospital, right?
There’s that shoulda again.
Maybe it was guilt. I mean, he was already in the early stages of whatever-it-was that killed him, and I brushed it off as a piece of cake. I’d had my gallbladder out over ten years ago with no complications whatsoever; surely this tall man with the booming voice and ever-present smile would make it through something like that just as easily.
There it is. There are the tears that wouldn’t come yesterday. But am I crying for the loss or crying for myself?
I don’t really know for sure, but considering it was seeing “booming voice” that set me off, I’d like to think there’s enough humanity inside me to be sad at something other than my own inadequacies.
I think I’ll miss that booming voice most of all. Of all the heralds I’ve met in my short time so far in the SCA, his was the loudest, the clearest, the strongest. Even in his day-to-day conversations, he sounded like a radio announcer or movie voiceover actor. There was depth to that voice. Confidence. Strength.
“Draw nigh for court” will never sound quite the same. A great voice has been silenced, and it’s going to be a while before any of us are really okay again.