Processing grief

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
I had a close friend from my high school days pass away last week. 60 years old. Never married. Lived alone. He grew up in New Jersey. Sometime after high school he took a several week road trip with 2 friends. They crisscrossed the US. Somehow he liked the Arizona vibe and 1 day just upped and moved.

Just before he moved he was out at the bar with his friends. Doing something they had done many times before over the years. Mid beer Paul looks at his friends and say "I gotta get out of here". His friends were like, where do you want to go? A different bar? He said no, I have to get out of NJ. Get out of this rut of a live of doing the same things. So he moved to Tucson and spent the last 30 years there.

We grew apart as jobs and girl friends vied for our free time. By the time I joined the Navy we barely ran into each other even though we grew up on the same street a few doors down from each other. His family sold their home and moved away. Then decades later we reconnect through Facebook. Sound familiar? Happens all the time.

So we talked on the phone and got caught on 30+ years of adventures. For several years we spoke probably about once a week. 3 years ago I flew to Arizona to spend some time with him. It was good getting caught up. He runs an online business from his home. Orders go through the website. Once the payment cleared he created the ordered items. He had dozens of testimonials from past customers. That was 1 thing he prided himself on, his satisfied customers. He was proud of the small business he built. It paid the bills and for his the best part was he didn't have a boss to answer to. Prior to that he was in corrections working with parolees and community service people.

His deal for fitness was his rowing machine. He'd row 6 days a week. Some days he'd row for up to an hour. Anyway at some point he hurt his back. Most likely from the rowing. He gets major back surgery. He emailed me a picture of his x-ray with all the nuts and bolt around his spine. It looked like a step ladder. About a year after the surgery the back is again causing issues. So it's the pill route to quell the pain. Then the stomach issues start. More pills. But the pain remains. Now doctor visits are a weekly occurance. Tests and more tests. Meanwhile my friend is getting frustrated. He eats less because the stomach issues get worse right after a meal. Some childhood friends are in the med field and convince him to return to NJ for more tests. They take out his gall bladder.

His mom and sister try to persued him to move home so they can be his support system. He didn't want to be a burden. And around this time his calls became less frequent. Even Vrai would mention that Paul hadn't called in a while. I'd call and leave a message. I sent facebook messages. But I got nothing back.

I set up a Facebook page for his business. After a while some customers would message me saying they left a message but didn't hear anything back. I didn't have a way to get in touch with his sister. I thought about having the police check up on him but didn't want to get into that level of involvement. This guy is pretty hard headed. I knew he was dealing with things and this was his way of handling it. Not bother anyone and just retreat into his home.

So after about maybe a year, I went on his facebook to see if there was any activity. He didn't acknowledge birthday wishes. I noticed 3 friends left messages saying they hadn't hear from him and reached out to talk or help if needed. I messaged those 3 people. I didn't know any of them but 1 girl knew my older brother. Anyway we messaged about the situation. But I personally didn't take any additional action. But it seems the 1 girl called and left a message.

3 weeks ago I get a call from Paul. He sounded awful. He confirmed what I thought about him just withdrawing from society to deal with his pain. He had been to the ER a dozen times. But he got no relief from the almost constant pain. He was miserable. He couldn't keep up with his business. Money got tight. More stress into an already stressful situation. I offered to go and help out. He was adamant that I not do that. He said he didn't want anyone to see him in that condition. He was down to about 130 pounds when he was 185 the last time I saw him. He didn't cut his hair for a year. His house was a mess. At than point I asked what I could do for him. He said that there wasn't anything anyone could do for him. He told me about his sister's offer to relocate him but stressed the part about not being a burden. I get that part.

I got a message from the gal that I messaged previous. She asked if he called me. She got through to him and encouraged him to call me since I was concerned about his well being. I told her that he did. Then it made sense that after a long absence he got in touch with me.

Then Sunday night I got a text from a distant friend from back home. He told me Paul had passed. Paul's sister let him know. Turns out he passed a few days before. Looking back the call from 3 weeks prior was a good bye call. For that I'm grateful.

The part I struggle with is should I have done more early on. 60 years old is quite young to basically give up on life. This was the kid that when we were 14-15 said we were going to move to Montana and live off the land. When I got to Montana in 2012, I called him and had him guess where I was. I was in the town of West Yellowstone, Montana and was standing right next to the town's sign. His dad would drop a bunch of us off at the state forest and we'd camp for the weekend. We all took pots from our mom's kitchens. Meals were mostly burgers & dogs over the fire. Somehow we managed to return from each trip more or less in 1 piece. I only wish we took pictures of those adventure of a bunch of city kids turned loose in the forests of NJ.
 
Thanx for the share. You should be, and apparently are, grateful you got to speak with him.

Many from my childhood days thru high school have passed, but no one I was close to. But we are approaching the time soon when friends I am close to will be passing. I am not looking forward to that.
 

NextJen

Well-Known Member
PREMO Member
Many times when people die that we are close to, we second guess ourselves as to whether there is anything we could have done....or something we should have seen and acted upon. In the end, we could drive ourselves crazy thinking about those things.

Love those close to you while you can, and when they are gone, once the immediate pain of losing them has subsided, remember all of the good times with a smile. That is what they would have wanted.

I'm sorry for your loss, Monello.
 
If you had made changes to live his life you wouldn't have lived yours. 60 seems so soon to you because you aren't done living. 60 is enough for someone who is in chronic pain and who can no longer live the life he chooses. You gave him lifetime friendship. You never stopped. Cherish that thought.
 

Bann

Doris Day meets Lady Gaga
PREMO Member
:huggy: You were a good friend to him. I'm sure he was more appreciative of that than you might ever know. I also believe that he cared enough for your friendship that he called you those 3 weeks before he passed.

I'm sorry about your buddy - I know it's not easy dealing with issues that are not always known or clear to us when someone passes.
 

Bann

Doris Day meets Lady Gaga
PREMO Member
If you had made changes to live his life you wouldn't have lived yours. 60 seems so soon to you because you aren't done living. 60 is enough for someone who is in chronic pain and who can no longer live the life he chooses. You gave him lifetime friendship. You never stopped. Cherish that thought.
This is so true. :yay:
 
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mitzi

Well-Known Member
I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. It hurts. I've lost several friends but the worse has been my 2 lifelong girlfriends (the same story, lost touch over the years but found each other on Classmates.) I understand how you feel. I miss talking to them so bad. We were going to have a weekend together but one found out she had cancer and we just never could.
 

RoseRed

American Beauty
PREMO Member
I'm sorry for your loss, and understand. I lost a friend last Sunday and I didn't get a chance to go see him. We thought there was more time...
 

littlelady

God bless the USA
Your story is heartwarming. Don’t grieve too much. Your friend knew you were a great friend. You did all you could. Take comfort in that.
 

Auntie Biache'

Active Member
Monello, I'm sorry for your loss. My Uncle made his rounds to say good-bye around Christmas time. Of course, he didn't tell anyone he was dying, but we all suspected. Of course, after the fact, we all wonder what we could have done to make his last days better, different...something. I think most of us want to have some kind of control over the way we spend our last days, and do it our way. Go out quietly, or go out with a bang. Try not to be a burden, or take as much help as possible. Our own decision over the last days of our lives. As it should be.
 

Ken King

A little rusty but not crusty
PREMO Member
Sorry for your loss, seems your friend just wanted it to end his way without burdening others. Remember the good times you shared and that he is no longer suffering.
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
Thanks for those of you that thought to reply. I'm still processing this. Not constantly but several times a day.

Anyway he was a big audio guy. His business was making custom speaker cables. Years ago he did the research and was able to come up with a product that would produce pretty good sound out of high end sound systems. He was proud of his business and customer service was of the upmost importance to him. I spoke to Paul on the phone several times. Paul was a gracious, friendly, and honest man. Seems an uncommon breed these days. And he was able to make a decent living doing this. Plus he was his own boss and didn't have to rely on anyone else other than his suppliers.

I knew he frequented some audio forums. I registered on 1 of them so I could let them know he passed. Several people have replied back. Almost all have the same sentiment when they deal with him from a business aspect. I'd like to share some of them with you so you know better with what kind of person he was.

Just last week I called him up after a late Saturday listening session. I thought about him because of the the pleasure his cables bring to my listening experience. I left a VM. About 6 months back I gave him a similar call and while I was leaving VM, he picked up the phone hearing my name and we spoke for about 10 minutes. He advised me to enjoy life and love near and dear ones. He knew he had a short time to live, but seemed alright then.
He was a GREAT GUY and will be missed very much.
Bad things happen to good people; Paul was a very good one. I’ll be using his Double Shotgun speaker cables until the day I too die. Thanks Paul!
I spoke to Paul on the phone several times. Paul was a gracious, friendly, and honest man. Seems an uncommon breed these days.
.One of the best buys in audio in my opinion. We need more people like Paul in this hobby. He was a genuine pleasure to deal with. Rest in Peace.
I owned several cables from Paul ,all very good quality, and Paul was a very good person
Always willing to share in life as well as his craft and never an unpleasant thing to say about anyone or anything.

All it took was a few minutes of talk about cables and then it was time to sit back and enjoy the conversation. He really loved what he did and was an asset to the audiophile community.
Paul was the best. Kind and full of integrity. An absolute gem in this industry.
I talked to Paul a few times, an absolute joy to speak with and just B.S. about any subject that came up. My impression of him was an honest, caring man with a good nature and a great product he believed in. He did leave an impression on me and will be missed. Heaven has great cables now!
An honest and authentic and patient soul. Took much time from his days to talk with me about cables and sound and never, ever, tried to up-sell me on anything. I've used his Shotguns for years and love them dearly. He always struck me as simply a kind man who believed in his work.
 

mudpuddle

Active Member
" He advised me to enjoy life and love near and dear ones. "
I agree with this. I think our soul's purpose is to: Love life. (Be grateful you were born and Thank God for it.);
Express your love in a physical way. (Doing anything that would help the other person-emotionally, spiritually, and physically ( Look, there is a "trinity" again!), and by doing this even more to strangers,( such as any form of kindness-no matter how small, even just a smile to a passing stranger); Breathe your loving "spirit" into your words, whether spoken or written. Just using words that do not have your "spirit" in them are just that" words", which are often taken for granted and don't have any substance to them. (Example writing Love with your signature on letters or cards, etc. This has become an automatic "response" -to the point that you don't even have to think of the word when writing it, and their is no"spirit" in the word... When you write the word love, actually try to "feel" the emotion of love when writing it! This is how I do it. (I am more or less putting my spirit into my words. I believe this is how the Bible was written-with words that have God's spirit breathed into them! -The spirit never dies, so I believe the Bible will never die.) And finally, just enjoy your life by any means you can!
I think we live in such a complicated and distracting world, that we forget about the just plain basics.
Your friend new the meaning of life and I am sure he put his "spirit" into those words, and you will always remember them!
I am sorry for your loss.
 
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