Someone once said that early September brings out the kind of bright blue skies that people who love New York love most about New York. The skies are not only magnificently blue but they also have a light, crystalline hue that gives the illusion of seemingly infinite visibility. The brightness of the late summer sun always makes this one of the most beautiful times of the year. You never really see a sky like this any other time of the year.
Sometimes I wish I could enjoy it more.
After the exuberant days of summer have passed like a fading star in the wake of yet another festive Labor Day weekend, I always find myself quietly sinking into a palpable state of unease. A sense of sadness envelops me and I tend to withdraw into myself.
On the surface, everything seems normal but, deep down inside, I know that I'm really only going through the motions. Nobody except those closest to me can feel the subtle change in my demeanor. But I know it's there. I can feel it. It's like an unnamed pathos inhibiting a part of me. Something is missing.
What's missing is you, my friend.
Twelve years later, I still mourn your passing. For better or worse, I choose to embrace the grieving because I don't ever want to let go of you. I hate the word closure. It's total bullshit. It implies an end to something that shouldn't ever end. You don't get closure on trauma, loss, or the impact of human cruelty. The sadness becomes part of you and you use the experience to frame how you want to live your life. Closure is a myth. Fuck closure.
I spoke to your mom yesterday, Andy. We talked about how we're all not getting together this year to both mourn and celebrate you. People are busy with their work, their lives, their kids. Maybe it would be best if we all try and forget about how much we miss you.
Then we both sighed, knowing that none of us who really knew you well would ever get over losing you.
Nor should we.
The great irony of my life is that whenever I was depressed, you were always the one to cheer me up. One of my favorite stories about you is the time I found myself in a dark mood, alone in my apartment. You knew I was in avoidance mode but you persisted in calling me until I was finally forced to pick up the phone. You told me to come over to your and Kyle's aparment at once. You weren't taking no for an answer.
As I arrived at your building and exited the elevator on your floor, I immediately found a trail of vodka shots leading to your front door. It was like a demented Hunter S. Thomson version of Hansel and Gretel. By the time the door opened and I saw that big amazing smile of yours, I already felt better. Suddenly, my problems seemed trivial and worlds away. Nobody ever cheered me up like you did. Nobody could ever ask for a more loyal friend. Nobody ever had a better ally.
I wish you were still around, Andy. I'm engaged to an amazing woman Tara and between the two of us, we have these three incredible little girls. You and Tara would adore each other. In a way, her infectious smile, generous heart, and incredible spirit remind me of you. Those are rare traits, my friend.
But more importantly, I always think about how much our girls would absolutely LOVE their Uncle Andy. My God, they would be crazy about you. Even though you're gone, Andy, just thinking about the girls begging me to have you over for dinner so they could clamor for your attention brings a smile to your face.
Imagining you were still in my life today is often the only thing that ever really gets me through this time of year. I'll never forget you, my friend. You'll always be a part of my family. You'll always have a special place in my heart. You'll always bring a smile to my face.
I miss and love you, Andy.
Andrew Golkin, 1970-2001