I don’t remember the last time I had a dream I was dying. From what I can remember, and mind you this dream happened over 12 hours ago, I knew I was going to die. I had made all of these preparations. Everything was very real. It all took place in Los Angeles. My family had gathered, but no one was sad. They were just prepared for it. I kept trying to write down who all of my possessions would go to. CDs would go to this friend, DVDs to that friend, my television to someone else. I knew I only had until the next day. There was so much to do and I just couldn’t finish. Everyone wanted to say good-bye, which was fine, but I didn’t have time to myself. I felt ready to go though. I had come to some grand realization that it wasn’t over. That despite my death, I would move on to something else. And the weird thing about this dream was that I woke up several times and when I fell back asleep, it just picked up where it left off, which I don’t think I have ever experienced.
Growing up, I had this friend. His name was Kevin. He was a part of a group of friends that helped shape who I am today. There were two others as well, at least at the core of my peers through junior high and high school. I had a different relationship with each of these guys, though we often all hung out together. There were a couple of exceptions of note. Kevin was the one with whom I went on The March Of The Living and to Israel, both in 1992. These two experiences, though mostly The March, would be among the most defining moments in my childhood/early adulthood. The March was one of the most impactful and emotionally challenging things I have ever experienced and Kevin was by my side. We cried a lot together. We were exposed, quite graphically, to one of the most horrific crimes against humanity. It planted a seed of cynicism in me with which I still struggle. It has only been through reading and finding my own spiritual path in life that I have been able to be less cynical and more hopeful. I have found a way to turn poison into medicine, as it were.
Kevin was deeply impacted by the experience as well. We didn’t really talk about it much when we returned from the trip, at least not that I remember. We gave presentations about our experience to the community, but aside from that we didn’t speak of it. I know he was impacted because I was there. I noticed a change in him, just as I knew it had changed me. Word has it that following the trip Kevin began suffering from terrible headaches. I never knew of them.
After high school ended, we went our separate ways. When I spoke to his mom on Tuesday, she seemed to remember some sort of fight or argument, though I don’t. Over the last nearly ten years that I have had little or no contact with Kevin, he had been going to graduate school at Berkeley, gotten married and was doing some really incredible things in the Oakland community. He was also still suffering from his headaches, which were not treatable. Additionally, he was suffering from depression, though you would never know, if the words of others at his memorial service were any indication. He had grown into a very giving person who could not live up to his own expectations.
On May 10, Kevin took his own life. Kevin will always be a part of the memories I carry with me from my teenage years. Whether he was introducing me to The Who or Led Zeppelin, dropping acid with me for the first time, and years later, for the last time or just being present throughout the years, my memories of Kevin will be fond. I wish I would have known him better. It sounded like we would have had a lot to discuss.
I wrote a letter to his parents and brother, which included the following quote from Daisaku Ikeda:
Adversity gives birth to greatness. The greater the challenges and difficulties we face, the greater opportunity we have to grow and develop as people. A life without adversity, a life with ease and comfort, produces nothing and leaves us with nothing. This is one of the indisputable facts of life.
Kevin, may you be free of pain and suffering as you watch over the world. You will be missed.
Part if the reason I started this new format of the site was to make things a bit more personal. When I look back over the things that I’ve been posting since then, not much of it seems very personal. I suppose part of that is because I don’t figure someone wants to read about me, per se, but would rather hear what I have to say about various things, mostly music. That’s not meant to be as self-depreciating as it reads. Really, there just aren’t very many people I want to read about. When I go to other people’s web sites, it’s because there’s a piece of them that they put out there that I enjoy. It’s a small part of them, whether it’s a humorous look at the day they had or the show they went to, I can count on them for that. It’s entertaining in some way or another. I can’t think of a single site that I visit to read about their life. When I say life, I mean the dramas and the happiness and the sadness. And the reason I don’t usually post things about my own life is because I either write it down somewhere else, not to be shared with anyone who happens to just stumble upon my site, or I just want to keep things consistent. People seem to respond to what’s here, so why change it?
There’s a part of me that thinks that if I do share bits a pieces of what’s really going on in my life, maybe that will help one person deal with something that they are going through. I don’t mean that in an egotistical I-know-it-all kind of way, but simply there may just be someone who is going through what I’m going through and it may be comforting to know that someone else is experiencing/has experienced it as well. I know when I am going through rough times, and even the happier times, it makes me feel better to write or talk to someone. I’m not turning the site into some support group kind of thing, but I feel compelled to reach out to people because I know someone may read it. And hey, even if you don’t read the personal stuff and you just want to find out what shows are coming up, that’s the beauty of it. You don’t have to read any of this.
I have things to say. I keep bookmarking articles to refer back to, but they just keep piling up. I want to put all of my opinions down and share them with you, but the time…where is it? I can’t seem to find time to do this right now. Other things are more important, and the things that aren’t more important that somehow find there way of taking up my time…well, hopefully those will go away soon. I dunno. I’m blocked. I have some sort of mental constipation mixed with not enough hours in the day. Sleep seems more important to me. And no, it’s not a depression thing. It’s more of a survial thing. A well-being thing. It’s not over and I’m not leaving. I’m just resting up a bit. There’s so much music. Oh, that reminds me…I have another monthly mix ready to post. I’ll try and get that up soon. Happy birthday Joel.