And so it is the tenth anniversary of the passing of the mighty MOJ. Life with a marriage, kids, and a house continues to be quite busy and I wouldn't trade that for anything of course. But what I imagined to be a more grand remembrance has arrived too quickly and quietly. I usually start to feel the twinges of sorrow at Collin's passing early in March and it tends to carry on until this day comes. But last year I was so busy that it sneaked up on me and this year, it did so even more quickly. I can't help but feel guilty for this but I know it's natural as well. Still, despite the cold, rain, and a rather nasty sinus headache, I still was able to get to the cemetery and pray at his side. I'm not saying that to brag in a "Hey! Look at me! I'm such a good friend!" way. I'm only saying it to remind myself that remembering my friend is important to me. It's one of the most important things to me.
I can still vividly recall moments from the day of his funeral. My mind was in a million places, especially with my wife on bed rest as she was pregnant with our first son. But as I stood there looking at his casket next to a pile of earth, I can remember feeling like I was in some sort of bubble by myself, like I was somehow alone there. Or rather that I was somehow looking in on the whole scene from the outside, like it wasn't totally real. I stood alone just trying to will it all to be untrue and I must have looked lost because a mutual friend of ours, Amy, came up and wrapped me in a hug and we both just let loose with tears. It was insanely painful and yet there's part of me that would go back to that moment in a second. I miss that pain in a way because it kept Collin on my mind. It kept him close. Now that the pain has faded with time, I feel like I've let him slip away. Still, when I do visit him, I somehow think that in my prayers and rambling that I will look up and see him waiting nearby.
After the kids went to bed tonight, I loaded up some games in the MOJ's honor. Golden Axe and Pigskin were the big ones we played together.
|I slew and slew until the Death=Adder was smote in the MOJ's honor, though I missed having his amazon warrior at my side.|
|I took the field in Pigskin and even dared take on the dreaded Troll bowl!|
|Even the dreaded trolls could not stand up to a spiked face from an Arch Grimm!|
|And the high score goes to the memory of the mighty MOJ! I wish we could have played this one together.|
And though I rarely, if ever, played against him, the game he got me into most was Street Fighter 2. I can't recall ever obsessing over a game like I did with Street Fighter. He warned me not to get addicted but I gladly ignored him and spent many a night at The Rec playing some Street Fighter and hoping to run into Collin for a game of Golden Axe.
|In honor of the MOJ, I stomped on Vin's fighter of choice.|
|I then went on to stomp out the fearsome M. Bison.|
|A fitting screenshot.|
|This high score screen was the origin of using the name MOJ in place of Mojo. It seems fitting to put his name at the top one more time.|
I can remember a couple of nights when I was allowed to hang out with my older brother's gang and head to the Rec with them. Once I piled into their car and we laughed and yelled in the car, listening to The Divinyls. Another time, my buddy Eric and I tagged along with Collin and Vin as we rode in Collin's old white Pontiac. The ceiling of the car was all loose and puffy and Eric asked what was wrong with it. The MOJ responded "Ahhh it's my fun roof!" and we all lost it. Another car was giving us grief and as it passed, Collin told Vin to give the other driver "The big face" and again we all laughed. He had a way with words that made these random nights that much more fun. I sometimes wonder if he knew that about himself. I wonder if he knew how much fun he was and how much we'd all miss him. And miss him, I do, so much so that it makes me angry at times... angry that I can't make things right and bring him back... angry that some others I know don't seem to miss him as much anymore... angry that my friend is gone when I feel like I need him here.
For another year, goodbye my friend. I hope that you are at peace... that you are Home in Christ.
Home In Christ
Wandering and lost I am shut out
Shut out from warmth
Shut out from love
My breath drifts around me-a smoking pall
In the drifting rain
Falling into the darkness at another dark road.
Until I decide to stop-
Wiping a wet hand down my wet face-
And look-look into the night
Just look, until I see the light-
The candle glow haloing the dim wooden frame.
Right there all the time-calling me
Calling me home.
I go to the flickering glow
The warm white light.
I knock at the door
And it opens without a sound.
And I am welcome.
Author: Collin Michael Kiernan