Monday, June 5, 2017

A Quarter Century and Yesterday...

That's a picture of Tye - one of my very best friends - that these two goofballs are holding.

We talk about him a lot around here.

25 years ago today - I had just finished walking across the stage at my high school graduation in Georgia.

Caps tossed in the air, hugs with friends I may not see any time soon and headed back to the house for some cake and some celebrating cuz HIGH SCHOOL WAS DONE!

At home - the phone rang.

It was Tony - another one of my best friends in Pennsylvania. They were walking the next day and I assume he was calling to say "Ha! You crazy fool - you did it!" and congratulate me on graduating.

I was wrong.

Instead - he proceeded to tell me that Tye (my friend up there) had been in a super bad car wreck with his girlfriend while they were on the way home from getting clothes for graduation.

"It was a bad wreck..." Tony said.

And Tye had died.

25 years ago today... my friend Tye died.

It feels like a quarter of a century ago and yesterday - all at the same time.

The next few days were a blur - as I traveled to Pennsylvania and joined my group of close friends as we carried Tye to his final resting spot.

If I'm honest though... the next ten years were a blur.

When one of your best friends dies on graduation night - a pivotal moment in anybody's life - it messes with ya a little bit.

You're forced to grow up. Fast.

And I didn't want to.

I was angry.

Angry at a God i didn't even know - a God I had never really been introduced to - but one that I tossed blame at regularly for the next 10 years.

But here I sit... a quarter of a century and a yesterday later... and I'm a completely different person.

I know God now. I'm not angry any more.

Oh I got questions for God... for days! But something tells me when i stand in His presence - those questions won't matter anymore.

And I still miss Tye.

Pretty regularly actually.

But now - instead of the anger - I try and turn that into memories of him.

We still do talk about him a lot around here. The kids know ALL about him!

Just tonight - I said:

"Guys... you would have loved Uncle Tye and he would have adored you... ya know what i think he would have definitely taught you how to do?"
They looked at me clueless but eager to know...
"He would have taught you how to fart in your hand and throw it at people... I'm sure of it... Uncle Tye was good at that!"
Meron laughed and laughed and laughed...

Tye would have LOVED that laugh.

Three days ago I made it back to the tiny town where Tye, myself and my other crew of friends all grew up.

I was there for Tony's Grandma Mazzoni's memorial - but I had a few minutes and I scooted out to visit Tye - just me, him, God and a wide open and very quite cemetery.

Man - his dad keeps that place looking SHARP for sure!

As I stood there - praying prayers of thanks - thanks for Tye, for the time we DID have with him and for the race he ran on earth - I felt an overwhelming amount of peace.

And in that peace... I realized something big (for me at least).

I'm not angry any more... I'm past that, I've grown from it and I'm different.

But a quarter of a century and a yesterday later...

I just miss one of my best friends.


betty junk said...

Hi Tymm, for the 3rd time I am going to write a message and hope it goes through. I am Tye's Aunt Betty, Gary's sister. Your passionate and touching tribute to Tye was so, so nice. Tye had so much going for him, and just like that, it was over. His passing was such a tragic event in our that will never be forgotten. He was so loved and is so missed. In ways, it doesn't seem like it could be 25 years, and in other ways, it seems like it has been forever since we have seen him. Memories are precious gifts that we all have.

Thank you and God Bless you and your beautiful family,
Betty K Junk

Tymm said...

Hi Betty! Thanks for the kind words - I know how much you guys all miss Tye... thankful we have the memories and I hope they never, ever fade...