Monday, January 11, 2010

Loss - In Memory

I lost an old friend this past weekend.

A son. A brother. An uncle. A grandson.

Vicki called me on Friday night to tell me bad news. I knew from the tone of her voice something was wrong, but you always expect that it's a grandparent, someone older, who has passed, but not this! Clayton had been killed in a car accident!

And then the breath leaves your body and you must sit down.

I didn't even believe it for the longest time. Something like that can't be real. It's too sudden.

But yesterday I went to the church for visitation. Standing at his casket, noticing every detail of where makeup (ineffectively) covered the bruises on his face, his hands. And I sobbed and had to step away.

I stepped away to the display of photos . There was a cute one with him holding a spotted pink-earred elephant when he was only 2 or 3 years old, school pictures with that long hair we all remember, some from his brothers wedding, many with his parents and grandparents and friends.

And one picture of me. Standing next to him at his highschool graduation. And I remember he didn't speak to me that entire night. Barely spoke to me for weeks prior. We broke up and I started seeing someone else. He promised me he'd never speak to me again if I dated this person. But he still wanted me at his grad. I was so confused and heart-broken, even though the heartbreak was my own fault. Years later, when I saw him last, he still didn't speak to me. It hurts when I think of how our friendship ended way back then. But he was a person who held secrets dear and kept his promises.

So, there I was standing over his casket telling him how sorry I was, telling him goodbye, trying to remember the good moments - the times we would spend hours on the phone and mom would get mad at him for calling me so late, the school nights he hitch-hiked to my house and dad would tease him about being a "long-haired goomer", the little koala bear he gave me for Valentines Day (i still have it), the skidoo rides on his old "12" up to the church marsh, the first time my 15-year old heart fluttered with glee when he said he loved me and I was too nervous to say it back. Happy memories. Memories to last forever.

Memories that, for many, have been cut much too short.

It's been so very long, Clayton, but I miss you like it was just yesterday that we were young and sneaking out between classes at school to see each other. R.I.P. old friend.

Clayton Robert Coates
March 15th, 1976 to January 8th, 2010


Quirky Christa said...

sniffle, sniffle....when I heard the news you were one of the first people I thought of. It's just so sad when young life is taken so quickly & without warning. He was a good guy and loved by many

vicki said...

I will never forget his grin, especially after he played a joke on you. A few years after i moved to brampton we were suppose to get an apartment together - just 2 friends needing a place to live. We looked at a couple of places (never forget one with a rotting hole in the carpet eeeewwwwhh) and then i decided to move in with my boyfriend at the time. I know everything happens for a reason but i probably would have been much happier living with clayton. I have always regretted that decision. Never will forget you Clat.

Photo Quilts said...

When I heard the news, like Christa, you were the first person I though of. After all, all my memories of Clayton were from when you were dating him. The many nights waiting for you to say Good-night to him before hitch-hiking home. God, he picked on me so much back then. lol. I'm so sorry for everyone's loss, he was a great person.

Stephanie said...

I`m sorry for your loss Myrna

Tara said...

Very well written Myrna...from the heart, as you always do. So sorry for your loss Myrna, so sorry.

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Tracey said...

this is tooo sad...that's all I have to say