It was Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 11:36pm. I had just posted to Facebook, “Good god I am so sad and can’t call on anyone.” The comments to follow from friends and family were filled with God, love, and hope. I didn’t give a fuck, especially about God. I felt like his whole goal in life was to fail me. And now, all of a sudden, I have friends that care? Bullshit. They like the drama. I’m a good provider of that. I was down, bad.
The next morning I laid there with the intent to not get out of bed. There was a knock at the door. Then more knocks. “I’m not getting up,” I said to myself, “I don’t care who it is.” The knocking wouldn’t stop. Whoever this damn person could be is winning the damn battle, so I answered the door. It was my best friend Dave. He said, “Come on. I cancelled all of my meetings today. Let’s just go hang out. We can do something, or we can do nothing. We can talk if you want, or you don’t have to say anything. Oh, and pack a bag, you’re staying with me this weekend.”
He took me to a restaurant. We sat and talked, mostly about things I don’t remember. We spent the time just being. I mentioned that I’ve been making horrible choices, and it’s really my fault for why I’m feeling this way. I was angry at myself. Then, out of nowhere, the most beautiful person walked up and asked us what we’d like to drink. Dave ordered his and I said, “A beer.” She asked about what kinds of beer I liked. I responded, “Surprise me,” trying to hold in any indication of how amazing her presence felt to me. She tried to mention a brand and I interrupted, “Well that’s not much of a surprise.” She laughed, and for the first time ever, gave me that signature smile and walked away. I’ll never remember exactly what beer she brought back, but as she was heading to grab the drinks, I looked at Dave and said, “That is what I want. I want one of those. That’s the type of girl I want.”
To me, she was an angel. She lifted me just by being there. A spark of hope was ignited inside of me. I saw something in her that I’ve never seen in any other person. I knew her only by her pretty face, that smile and her laugh. She had absolutely no clue about how much she lifted me up that day, or maybe she really was an angel and there really was a God. I wasn’t sure. All I wanted to do was to see her again. I could have looked at her face forever. We talked for a short time after that, but she was going through a divorce and I ended things. I was at a point where my choices were so vital to me that I was avoiding any potential conflicts. I didn’t want to be “that guy.” My selfishness ended up hurting her.
On Wednesday of last week, at 5:25pm, I posted, “It always sucks when you find out a friend of yours has died,” ending my short blurb about Sean with, “God be with you and the ones you left behind brother.” I had just found out that he, someone I’ve known for 20 years, losing touch the last few, had drove his truck over a cliff in Pismo Beach. His services were to be held on Saturday.
On Friday, my girlfriend broke up with me. I posted, “So that’s it. (She) and I split. I’ll be looking for a new place for me and the girls in the next 30 days.” It can be a humbling experience when another person tells you to your face, “You are not what I want,” but you have to respect it because it’s truthfulness and an honest choice. This time around I knew I wasn’t coming back though. This had been the third time in recent months, and I knew this time was final.
So Saturday I got up early and started my journey to Morro Bay to say goodbye to a friend. Before I started my car, the angel I was talking about earlier sends me a text: Totally my inner hippie coming out but turn to nature, there’s beauty everywhere but especially where you’re headed. Enjoy it. Clear your mind, be free and find yourself again. She surprised me once again with words I’d live by for the weekend. And I did exactly as she said.
Instead of worrying about how I’d talk to my daughters about the split, or looking at the body of my dead friend in a open casket, or looking at the actual crash site, or the awkwardness of living at home for the next 30 days, or finding all new furniture because I sold all mine when I moved in, or even finding a place at all, that would be exactly what I would do. I’m going to find myself again.
So I started my car and went the speed limit.
I stopped when I wanted to and took pictures along the way.
I visited the crash site, the place where Sean passed away then to his farewell, and gave my condolences to his mother.
Brad was Sean’s best friend, brother, everything. One hell of a friend to me.
I left Morro Bay, and cruised South on the 101. I was aware, present and just being. I was grateful for the gift of brotherhood God gives to man, and especially the gift of memory. I drove by a dad and his toddler son, sharing a pee on the side of the road (sorry, no picture of that). I scanned Mother Nature when it was safe to do so. I made it to a lesser known town to get a cheap room that night, a place I’d never been before. I used roads I’ve never traveled. I took the long way around. I was worry-free, focusing on gratitude and beauty instead. I cried in front of strangers and I didn’t care what they thought.
I laid down on train tracks, just for fun. I looked both ways first, and yes, it’s still a little scary.
The next morning I was still sad, so I made a little video of me playing guitar for Sean, a last song. It truly helped me say goodbye. My phone was riddled with support, so I thanked my friends and assured them I was okay.
One of the messages asked me what I was doing today. I wrote back, “Crying and playing guitar.” She responded with something like, “Ahh don’t cry. Me and my family are going to the beach. You’re welcome to come.” And I did.
It was a small beach called Jamala. I drove through a curvy road with amazing views, looped around a few times and found myself there. I brought my guitar, and a small bag of snacks for their kids.
And there she was. My angel, with her stomach on a sandy towel, with more beauty and grace than ever before, giving me one word that had the most powerful punch, “Hi.”
We didn’t say many things to each other. We didn’t need to. We didn’t hug, kiss or anything. We just sat there while I played guitar, listening to the roar of the ocean and the laughter of children playing in the sand. I was hit with the knowledge and understanding that through my journey, I was exactly where I was supposed to be. It felt good and perfect.
I know that whatever capacity the future holds for me and this hippie angel of mine, I will always be there to make her laugh and smile, and for anything else, she knows that all she has to do is ask. I know that the power of true friendships will support the heaviest of things. I know that life changes quickly, so I will make sure to live fully, and teach my daughters these same things.
I will operate in the present, the now that faces me.
Thank you for reading. It was a weekend I’ll never forget. Thank you for letting me share this with you.
This post is dedicated to:
My angel, the most forgiving person I know with some inner hippie in you. You’re a blessing to me.
To Dave Plivelich, my best friend, sharing a day together that I’ll never forget that turned into a great weekend.
And to the character and soul of Sean Ramirez, even after being gone, the bastard forced me to live. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, especially Brad.