Seven Years Gone

I've been on vacation the past 10 days. My wife and I went to my cousin's wedding in New Orleans and then spent a few days there with my parents and brothers. Then we flew to Philly to see her family. Toward the end of my trip, I knew that a bad day was coming. My best friend, Chris Jones, was killed in a car accident just after midnight on August 7, 2003. He was 19. These days the pain from that has mostly receded into some deep corner of my brain, but every time the anniversary comes around, and on his birthday in March, it comes out to twist a knife in my gut. This year it came in the evening on Saturday. Lauren's mom, uncle, cousin, sisters and brothers-in-law, our nieces, and my parents all were over at Lauren's grandmom's house for dinner. The party had mostly wound down, and the knife twisted all of a sudden. I was down for about an hour. Then this happened:

That's my month-old niece, Zoe. As I said on Twitter later that night, it's hard to stay depressed when you are rocking your baby niece to sleep. Thanks Zoe.

When Lauren and I were driving home from the airport yesterday, we listened to Bowling For Soup's most recent album, Sorry for Partyin'. One of the songs, "Bfff," is a great tribute to a guy's best friend. (You can listen to Bfff on Bowling For Soup's website.) It reminded me of all the trouble Chris and I got into in high school, and all the great times we had. And it made me laugh. Here's the chorus:

You'll tell the world I'm gay when you hear me say that I really and truly feel this way not that there's anything wrong with being gay

And sometimes we punch each other in the face like when I hit on your mom and got to second base I'm trying to say I love you in a heterosexual way.

Laughter through the tears. I don't believe in heaven or hell, or any other afterlife, but I hope Chris knew I loved him in a heterosexual way.