When I was fourteen I lost my closest friend who was just fifteen. What happened to him and why he died I do not know. Why I have such gaps in my memory I am just beginning to realize. But I am driven to make sure that he is remembered. Not the sadness that darkened my life. But just my friend.
I remember that as a child I set all my memories aside. I was afraid that I had to protect Eddie even in Heaven…that I had to protect even God.
It was the summer after my 7th grade and my family was out of town and I was sleeping at a neighbors. And all I remember was sitting with Eddie in our playroom curled up on a desk watching an old black and white TV. And being so much in awe that a boy two school years ahead of me wanted to hang out with me.
I leave what happened in the vagueness of those shades of memories. And I hold him inside in ways I can never explain and want to so much. He has brought healing and kindness in my soul. Sometimes someone can be credited with saving a life. Eddie has saved my soul.
Shakespeare created life in Romeo and Juliet. They seem to be real people that existed in time to us.
He merely breathed life into them through his words and they were of the same breath, and that breath belongs to the reader. And in these words and in my actions in my life, I hope to keep Eddie alive in this world as he is in the next, forever.
I believe we carry in our hearts an image of Heaven of the memories of all of those who have gone before us. I believe those who influence our lives become a part of who we are and in return we pass them on to others. And that somewhere in all our pasts of Six Degrees of Separation is someone who knew someone who knew someone who once touched the kindness of Christ and marveled at His beauty. And my prayer now is that through me…you will have the opportunity to see someone so precious in how he has affected me.
I only know that we hung out that summer and that they moved at the end of the summer and that he ran away and it was not until several years ago now, that I was told that he had died in his teens. I only know that I cared for him and that I have always been graced with a presence. And to me that presence is Eddie.
Sometimes I marvel. Imagine a boy so striking that I have lost almost all my childhood memories for 35 years. And yet I remember him. And not the terrible stuff. Just Eddie.
And if I have lost anything in my life. God has granted me so much more than anyone else… that I could not have lived without knowing him.
Others have to rely on Faith. In Eddie God granted me Certainty.
And sometimes I feel so much that if I just express how much of God I saw in him…if I could just show you…than maybe this world would heal too.
And in me I pray that others will see a boy who was so inspired by his friend to love life…that he at least tried to change the world for him.