I lost a dear friend this week. We have been friends for more than 10 years but we technically never met. He was an online friend but that helped with our friendship a lot. We had a friendship that didn’t look like it would work on paper but in reality it was an unconditional friendship. There were very few issues that we saw eye to eye on but it made for great discussions. We would tell each other just about everything and even if the other person didn’t agree with what we were doing, the other one always listened and gave support, even when telling the other that we disagree.
Curt’s views were not in line with mine. He was constantly teasing me about being from California while he worked in Tennessee and lived in Mississippi. He grew up in The Midwest and went on to join the military and I never gave the military a second thought for myself. He worked in IT and I work in health care. Our political views were quite opposite and and we just didn’t make sense on paper at all.
If I had had a rough day, I would call him on my way home from work and just ramble. He was used to my topic switching and just went with it. We talked about everything. I learned about what happens if you don’t submit your password changes on time (you get a very long one that is difficult to remember) and what happens when you don’t understand how cell phone upgrades work. He learned about my crazy busy schedule, and helped me finish up with my classes, especially when I needed the motivation towards the end.
I learned about a lot of euphemisms for masturbation. My favorite one was “taking Herman to the circus.” He sent me a photo of a sunburn that he had, and one of his fingers was in the photo, at an odd angle. I laughed because “it looks like you sent me a picture of Herman.” It was not Herman. It was his finger. I also once received a photo of Dick Van Dyke with the caption “unsolicited Dick Pic.” When Dick Van Dyke appeared on Masked Singer this week, I cried.
Having someone who wasn’t looking at someone something from your own point of view made a big difference especially when we both realize the other one wasn’t looking for advice just a sounding board. An opinion from the opposite point of view was always appreciated, since we were never trying to change the other person’s mind.
We saw each other through some difficult times in each of our lives. Basically just getting our random thoughts off of our chests and having someone else listen to us without giving advice and just hearing each other. His early mornings and the 2 hour time difference made it easy to chat with him during my insomnia bouts or early morning trips to the gym. He gave constant support, no matter what I was doing.
We knew what the other one was up to and listened without dwelling on the fact that we thought the other was wrong. I never gave him a hard time about his smoking, but he knew I would prefer he wouldn’t smoke. When he quit smoking, I was so proud of him. I checked in on him daily. I learned to call Jolly Ranchers “Gay Cowboys” because of him.
When it came time for the pandemic, Covid and vaccinations and all of the discussions came up with that, it was very clear that we were never going to see eye to eye . I listened to his point of view and understood where he was coming from and he understood where I was coming from and we knew we would never change the mind of the other one but we understood each other. No arguing. Just discussions.
Around New Year’s, he message me that he had pleurisy and was going into urgent care. He ended up getting a chest X-ray that found a large mass in his lungs unrelated to the pleurisy. He had a CT scan and shared the results with me knowing that I work in oncology. I knew from the initial report that it was not good news and I had difficulty trying not to let on what I know. I told him to go with the experts opinions and he was following along as directed . He had a few head bumps with the insurance companies, and you don’t want to get me started on the power that insurance companies have over delivering good medicine. He ended up having a biopsy confirming that it was cancer . He followed up with a PET scan and found that he had metastasis in his liver. He had a MRI and found that he did not have Metastasis in his brain so that was some good news.
He was going to start chemo right after the MRI , but again the insurance company delayed. He requested not have any treatment on his birthday so he started chemo 2 days later. The day he had the chemo, he checked in with me when chemo ended. He told me he was headed to the emergency room. He messaged me telling me that they thought he was having a heart attack and then again telling me that he had been admitted. The following morning he sent me a picture of him all hooked up to his monitors and settled into his room and told me he was going back to sleep for a little while. I heard nothing more from him after this.
Thankfully, his friend managed to reach out to me on Tuesday. Apparently sometime after he contacted me, he did have heart attack and ended up in the ICU. He had been unable to respond to texts or phone calls. He passed away almost a week after his first chemo treatment.
I have been tearful every time I tell what happened. I miss him and his way of just listening and telling me that I’m doing ok. I miss his IT advice, and telling me to think things through before jumping in. I’m not supposed to update to Windows 11 until he tells me to, so I guess I’m waiting a long time for that.
I learned to ask him before I watch horror movies. He knew what bothered me about the movies and told me what to avoid and what was more suspense than horror. I now have to figure it out with other friends who aren’t as in tune with my needs.
I’m sorry I won’t be able to attend any services that are planned, because of the distance, but I am glad that I have been kept up to date on what has happened.
Farewell Heywood, Jumper, Aslor70, Curt, and all other usernames that you used. I will miss you and so will so many others.