A year ago

It's been about a year. Come this Friday my son will be a year old and I cannot believe how fast the time has flown by. Considering the complications that accompanied his arrival, I can consider myself a very lucky man. Without going into too many details or without being too melodramatic, let me say that my wife and son came very close to not making it through that day. And yet this post is not about my wife or son.

The happiness of knowing my family is OK is tinged with sadness. Collin's passing has left a scar that I don't think will ever go away and truth be told I wouldn't want it too. When I was a kid and my brother and Collin were good friends, I used to look up to him. I used to always try and tag along with my brother's friends when they went to the arcade or the movies but mostly I wanted to hang out with Collin. Being a young kid, I thought he was "cool." As the years went by and I had my own friends, it was still great to run into my brother's friends and play a game of Golden Axe with Collin or catch up on things when we met in passing. Years later Amy and I started to see him on a regular basis as he waited our table almost every Saturday night. Eventually he invited me over and we started to hang out on a pretty regular basis. Even then it struck me that I was now pretty good friends with someone I looked up to as a kid. I somehow felt proud to have him as friend. I felt proud when I went to the theater to see him star in one of his plays. I felt proud when he spoke of his "brothers" Matt (my brother), Vin (our good friend), and me.

I still look back with pain at the emails we traded back and forth searching for some sign of what he was experiencing and cringing when I see one. I see his email to me asking me to come over on this day or that and I see my response that I couldn't make it, and it hurts even if I had a good reason not to visit. It hurts me to look back on my last visit to his house and remember how he looked "off" somehow, like he was under the weather. It hurts to remember that during that visit I fell asleep while watching movies and headed home a bit early because I was just too tired. It hurts because I walked out of his front door thinking that it would only be another few weeks before I walked back in.

When I pick up the Xbox controller to play Halo, I find myself wishing he was at my side. When I see some crazy movie I find myself wishing I could email him about one of the funny lines. I find myself wishing that that I was sitting in his office trying to fix his old laptop for the tenth time. I find myself wishing I just got to know him better in the last couple of years when we were truly good friends.

Last Thursday was the anniversary of his passing. Matt, Vin, and I celebrated the day by saying a rosary at his memorial, grabbing dinner at Ruby Tuesday's (complete with the Killian's in a frosted mug), and finishing the night with one of his favorite movies. After we parted ways and headed home, I drove through the cemetery one more time and saw the lantern that marks his resting place. To see it lit was comforting. It somehow reminded me how proud I was... How proud I still am to be Collin Kiernan's friend.


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