“We recognize that there are no trivial occurrences in life if we get the right focus on them.”*

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the death of my best friend, Bill Owen. It’s a date that has been looming in the back of my mind for a couple of weeks now as I ponder how I’ll pause to reflect on the past year. I’ve written here and there on how this loss continues to bubble up and affect me every time I think I’ve managed to put it to rest and nothing much has changed in that regard.

It’s been a year and I still can’t drive past a white Volkswagen Jetta without looking to see if it’s Bill behind the wheel. There’s been more than one heart-stopping moment in that time when I mistakenly thought the person in that car did look a little like Bill. I still occasionally think about calling him before realizing he’s not around to call. I still make mental notes to tell him about things I think he’d be interested in hearing about like the upcoming release of the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD. He’d probably be one of the folks complaining about it being the special editions as he would’ve preferred the original theatrical cuts. He’s been gone a year and there’s a part of me that refuses to acknowledge this fact. It’s weird, but I have both a sense of how long he’s been gone and the feeling it all just happened yesterday.

I can pretty much recite to you word for word the phone call I got from our friend Rob telling me Bill had been in an accident and asking me to come down to the hospital. Hell, I can recall just about every thought that went through my head as if it had been etched there. I can still see Bill laying on the gurney in the hospital when I went in with his mother to ID his body as if I had just walked out of the room. I can still taste the residual anger I felt when I learned more about how this pointless tragedy happened.

I had hoped I would come up with something poignant to say while writing this, but I can’t think of anything that seems to do the job. I will probably not be updating my blog at all tomorrow so I’m mainly writing this to let you folks know why now. And if you’ve not chatted with your best friend in awhile then do yourself a favor and ring them up to check in ‘cause life is short.

Sometimes shorter than we realize…

*Quote from Mark Twain

11 thoughts on ““We recognize that there are no trivial occurrences in life if we get the right focus on them.”*

  1. Whatever happened to the parking officer who hit Bill?

    These are not the kinds of anniversaries we like.
    More than sad…unfathomable.

    I’m going to phone my friends.
    Thanks for reminding me.

  2. I lost my father to a car accident back in 1987 and it still comes up in my life. He died on Veteran’s day so even if I wanted to forget that date I couldn’t. There are plenty of times when I do something or experience some event and think damn I wish he could be here for this! Or other times I think, “I could really use some fatherly advise right now.” The worst part is that I was seventeen at the time so I will never know how it would have been to know him as one adult to another. I’m not sure those thoughts and feelings will ever go away. I know that’s kind of a downer but I guess the best I can say is I feel for you.

  3. I’ve been here a couple of times and found things of interest but have never commented.  I can’t go away without commenting this time.  I am very sorry for the loss of your friend.  I know grief. I have lived with grief since June 24th, 2003 after losing my mother.  For six months I totally dropped out of life - bound to the darkness and pain of my loss.  Today I was leafing though an old book of my mother’s and happened across a note she had scribbled about some financial plans.  I cried and the grief came flooding back.

    Anniversaries of this sort of heart rending. Though I don’t know you, I feel for you.  The six month anniversary of my mother’s death was Christmas Eve.  On that day I also lost my father.  I am grateful that I loved them almost to the point of pestering them constantly - I never passed up the opportunity to just call and say, “I was thinking about you, miss you, love you!”  Today, like you, I think a dozen times a day I want to call or note something I want to share with them.  A year is not a very long time at all to be without someone who was connected to your soul.  I understand although the pain never totally leaves us it gets easier.  I am still waiting for that time when the flood of sadness doesn’t carry me back to those days when I lost those I loved the most.  I hope it comes soon—for both of us. 

    Again, I don’t know you, but I will be thinking about you tomorrow and hoping that along with the sadness there are some moments of joyful rememberance.  Take care of you.

  4. I appreciate everyone’s kind words. The grief these days is much more manageable, but still present. It’s one of those wounds that takes a long time to heal and will never completely go away. So you do what you can, spend some time in remembrance, reflect on the future and keep moving forward.

    Am, Gary Seiko was originally charged with manslaughter and was facing 15 years in prison, but in a plea bargain he agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of negligent homicide which carried a possible sentence of only 2 years in prison. In the end because he had no prior record he walked with only 2 years probation and 200 hours of community service.

    Granted, he has to live with the knowledge that his stupidity resulted in the death of someone, but it’s not the sort of thought that brings one much comfort. Depending on the sort of person he is, admittedly I don’t know him, today may just be another day to him. Not that it matters. Whether he is affected by his actions or not doesn’t change the reality for me in any real way.

  5. Very true.

    It would be nice if he had to counsel youth on the nature of irrovocable acts, and resposibility during and after probation.

  6. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since you left us all behind.
    Your smile, your laugh, your kindness still lives here in our mind.
          Rest peacefully sweet prince.

  7. Les,

    I saw your pics of your friend Bill in your photo gallery, and didn’t want to ask why he was no longer with us.  Now that I know, all I can say is how shocked and saddened I am that such stupid people are allowed into positions of authority.  That guy probably thought he was hot shit riding around in a patrol car even though he was only allowed to perform limited police duties.

    And now your friend is dead.  I feel so sorry for your loss.

    I used to live near that area, too.  Attended a church very close to the intersection where the accident occurred.  If we hadn’t moved from that area, it could have just as easily been me or a family member.

    I know you’re an atheist and all that, but I hope you don’t mind if I offer a prayer for healing for Bill’s friends and family.



  8. Not a problem, Paul. Bill was religious himself so I’m sure he would’ve appreciated the gesture. Myself, I take offers like yours in the spirit in which they were intended. Whether I believe in gods or not doesn’t diminish the fact that such offerings have a good intention behind them the same as being told “bless you” after sneezing. I’m not so wrapped up in my atheism as to be offended by the good intentions of believers.

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