9 Years Later
I can't remember ever being as busy at this time of year as we have been this year and that, combined with various other circumstances have forced the Grimms to postpone our day of remembrance of the late MOJ, not the least of which is the fact that we nearly lost another of our number this year. That the Grimms are still 3 and not now 2 is a blessing but Vin's recovery is such that a true night of celebration must wait. Vin and I still went to the cemetery yesterday for a brief visit but it was hardly enough time to properly pay tribute to our fallen brother.
This busy time has also made it tough for me to slow down and put myself back in the MOJ frame of mind as I normally like to do at this time of year. As I've said many times, many people deal with the parting of loved ones by moving on as quickly and as best they can. Others welcome the pain of missing that person since that pain is sometimes all we have left that makes us feel close. I'm definitely the latter type so I feel a bit guilty when I don't feel that pain as I haven't, at least not as much, this year.
And yet, I remember. Sometimes it feels like that is my station, to be the friend who remembers. He called me "apprentice" and I took, and still take that to heart. Life gets busy for everyone but I never let that get so in the way that I do not remember. It's not that I blame the rest of his friends, most of whom knew him longer or better than I did. But as the end neared, not that any of us knew it was nearing, I stayed by his side as best I could. And with him out of our reach now, I am the one that keeps his memory alive. I maintain a library of his Grimm writings. I maintain a regular watch at the cemetery. I am the one who plans his annual remembrance and reminds the others to stop and think of him at this time of year. I don't say these things to boast and I know that his family keeps his memory alive far better than I could ever hope to. But I say this to remind myself of what is a sort of obligation to me, that I keep a part of Collin alive that is unique. I keep him alive in the Grimm brotherhood we shared. It's not necessarily the memory of Collin Kiernan I keep alive, but instead the memory of the Mighty MOJ... Em Ohus Jayus.
At this time every year, I scan my memories, trying to unearth some moment that eluded me in previous years, a "new" memory to write down so as to never forget it again. However this grows more difficult every year. I've either gone through them all or I'm starting to lose them as I age. But the two that have stuck out in my mind this year are the time he named me Muad'dib and the more generic times of playing Beirut in the cold and damp of September at Vin's birthday parties. I cannot remember the specifics of either but in my mind they went like this.
The first took place when Vin, Collin, and I headed out for some drinks and karaoke at the Black Forest bar in Shelton after Collin got out of work at Ruby Tuesday. Collin was in the mood to sing and I was just in the mood to hang out and drink. I had more than my share of beer and we were having a good time. Collin sang American Woman as Vin and I cheered him on and at a random point when I was acting like a nut, Collin pointed at me and said something along the lines of "Paul Muasd'Dib, you are a freak" and it hit him. He said "I've been searching for your Grimm name for a long time and that's it... Paul Muad'Dib." It may sound stupid but I was proud at that moment.
As I said, the second is only a loose set of memories. Vin's Beirut parties were always big events that went well into the night but his birthday parties tended to end earlier since the cold Fall weather would chase many away. Of course Collin and I would stick it out no matter what. With a cold mist coming down, making the driveway slick, we battled on, more often across the table from each other than as teammates. And when the party was nearly at an end was when I enjoyed these parties most. We got to talk more and play more Beirut without interruption. I can remember when I told him about my Grimm concept of "The Terrible Quiet" and how he laughed and said it was "Such Grimm!" I can remember Vin and Collin quoting Conan the Barbarian... "He did not care anymore... Life and death... the same." I can remember us singing along to Maiden and Metallica and finally putting the table and chairs away after the last game had been played and then heading up to watch some TV with Ma Duva before heading home. And on one occasion I can remember taking a different route to the parkway than the one Collin took. As I pulled onto the highway from the entrance ramp, I saw his white Pontiac speed past me, his hand held out the window in a Grimm salute, like a claw, palm up, as if holding a goblet. I have many memories of the MOJ and yet it's funny that this memory, the memory of him driving out of my sight, the one that is most vivid in my mind... the memory of him leaving. It is a memory that pains me in hindsight.