It's 7:30 in the morning and I'm staring out the window of a hotel room in Stamford, Connecticut. As I gaze out across the Long Island Sound, I can't help but be struck by how beautifully clear and sunny the sky is today. It's so strangely similar to that day ten years ago when we lost you, it almost sends shivers down my spine.
Kyle and I had drinks with your sister recently and we were talking about the passage of time. Susan was saying how hard it was to believe that it's been ten long years since she heard your voice, ten long years since she listened to your laugh, and ten long years since she saw your face. Would none of that really never happen again?
For me, I don't know what to think. When it comes to you, time has lost any sort of meaning. Sometimes, I feel as if 9/11 occured just yesterday. Other times, it feels like a lifetime ago.
All I really know is what I feel...and what I miss.
I miss walking into my office every morning and knowing that you were going to call at any moment. My mornings are lonelier for it.
I miss those evenings when we'd be out with a group of people but whenever you'd see me leaving, you'd make sure to give me a hug and say, "I love you, brother. Talk to you tomorrow."
I miss those late-night conversations out at the beach where we'd just grab a few beers, sit out on the deck, talk about life, and laugh about the absurdity of it all.
I miss our Monday night Chinese-food-and-a-movie adventures. It was one of my fondest weekly rituals. I don't think we've done it since you've been gone. It could never be the same without you.
God, has it really been ten years?
Collectively as a nation, there seems to be a sense of amnesia about 9/11. People want to remember the event but, at the same time, they want to get past that lingering sense of loss. It happens less in New York but you can feel it.
I get it. Bad things happen. Darkness descends. And putting personal tragedies behind us in order to move forward is an intrinsic part of life.
But how do you hold on to the things that are truly transecendentally important? How do you remember the parts of a person that that are also a part of you? What does it mean to get over the loss of a loved one?
As the writer Haruki Murakami once said, "no matter how much suffering you went through, you never want to let go of those memories."
Sometimes it saddens me that those memories are slipping away.
But ten years on, I do know that whenever I’m feeling alone in a room, the person I still always hope to see is you. Because I want to tell you about this amazing song that you'd love or about a hilarious movie that we need to see. I want to hear that infectious laugh that always cheered up my day. I want to skip work, grab a few beers and throw footballs in Central Park all day. Or I want to spontaneously jump on a plane to Miami with our best friends for one of those amazing long weekends in Miami where we'd laugh so hard that tears would be streaming down our faces.
Speaking of our friends (whom you always lovingly referred to as "la famiglia"), you'd still laugh your ass off if you saw us now. Life may change but somehow it still remains the same. We're a little older and a little grayer but, at the end of the day, we're still that same old bunch of silly misfits. As a group, we don't see each other nearly as much as we should. Maybe it's because we're all getting older and are busy with our own lives. But really, I think we all know it's because you were always the glue that held us all together.
We all miss you, Andy. You're still very much a part of our lives. We think about you all the time and we miss you as much today as when we first lost you. We can be anywhere in the world and one of us will quietly raise a glass and simply say, "To GoGo." Without fail, tears will always come to our eyes as we take a moment to remember how much we miss and love you.
Tonight we'll have dinner with your family, drink too much wine, and tell our favorite stories about you. We'll focus less on the loss and more on the joy that you brought into our lives. We'll mask grief with mirth. We'll trade bitterness for optimism. And as always, we'll take comfort in the tragedy of this day by being with our loved ones.
The only thing missing will be you.
I miss you, brother. I miss you a lot. May you always rest in peace.
Your friend Pierre
Andrew Golkin, 1970-2001