In honor of Memorial Day, I want to write about an old friend.
Fall of 1999, it was my sophomore year of college. It was move in day at the dorms. I drove myself up to school that year, early of course. Got myself situated and waited to see who would be living in my room and in my hall.
The rooms filled out, a couple familiar faces, but mostly new incoming freshman. My roommates and I immediately clicked with the girls just to the left of us and the boys across the hall to the right.
Very quickly we started spending our extra time together. Eating in the cafeteria, going to parties and watching Friends.
One of the boys was the life of the party. Byron, always with a big smile on his face. Ready to have fun with anyone and up for doing anything.
Over the next 3 years our friendships grew. We ended up living in different apartments, but always coming back to spend time together. Parties, concerts, festivals and summer trips to Canada.
At the very end of my senior year, Byron ended up moving into the house I lived in. The very first boy that I ever lived with. He used to cook for us, would engage in crazy girl talk and make us laugh all the time.
We all continued to stay in touch after I graduated. They all had 1 year left, I’d go and visit any chance I got. We celebrated everyone’s college graduation in one way or another and continued to go to summer concerts together for a year or two.
Then, our lives got in the way. The time without seeing each other went from weeks, to months to years. The communication slim. Seeing snapshots of life through Facebook.
Byron had gone into the service a few years after college. Something he’d always talked about, a dream come true for him. He served his time and then came back to his family.
Well, like it does for everyone, that time changed him. Though still sharing smiles on Facebook, my friend was troubled.
I remember my friend from college contacting me to let me know Byron was gone. I started crying immediately. My first friend that had died. It seemed so surreal.
A man that all the memories I have of are him making some goofy jokes, weird faces or even dressing like a girl for Halloween. The life of the party and the first boy I ever lived with, was holding on to something that was too much for him.
It’s memorial day today. A day to honor those who fought and lost their lives serving our country. Well, he may not have lost his life on the front line. He did fight for and serve our country. That dedication changed him so much, he ended up losing his life later.
With love and thanks, I hope there’s lots of laughter and beer pong where you are now!