Monday, June 02, 2008

Tom

The past 7 or 8 days were nuts. Peak training week. Ungodly high temps. Serious business "developments". And to top it all off, a friend died.

I'm kind of mad about the friend dying thing. Being as young as I am, even with my military background, I haven't had that many people that I know, family or friends, die. My friend was only a year older than me. I say friend, yet I'm positive I did not know him well enough.

Tom and his wife Lisa started as customers of Diana - she did some design work for them, including a remodel of his restaurant where I first met Tom, "McHale's Chophouse". It was absolutely the best food I've ever eaten. Tom cared about every plate that was ever served, and came out to check on his customers often. Oh, the calamari, and prime rib...it was all just awesome! He grew tired of his time away from family (he had 3 young boys) and the headaches of owning a restaurant (and a bar, and another restaurant) and closed down my beloved McHale's! I was NOT the only one in Brandon who was angry that day for sure.

But that's not why I'm mad now.

We had dinner at Tom and Lisa's house once, maybe twice, and met them out as well - Di continued to have a business relationship with Tom and a friendship with Lisa, but for some reason I never really had time (or made time?) for Tom. Now he was a busy man too - it's not like he called me, ever, or I called him and tried to get together for a beer. It just never...happened.

We had some things in common, Tom and I - he went to Cornell the same time that I went to West Point. He was riding a bike a couple years ago... actually he stopped riding just as I was starting to. We both struggled with our weight and size, and talked of diet and exersize. We both loved food. Tom was a lineman - played for the Bucs, the Eagles and the Dolphins. He still weighed-in close to 300 on a good day, and I don't know....big guys just seem to get along. He had way about him - he was just great to be around.

I'm not sure when I learned, but Di told me one day that Tom was in rehab. He was in constant pain as a result of his injuries earned during his football days, and had succumbed to a habit he was working to break. When I heard, I thought, "Tom's a strong dude - he'll be ok soon enough", and I really didn't give it much more thought. I got updates from Diana through his wife Lisa, and it seemed like he was struggling more than I would have figured, but not so much that it caused me concern. Why wasn't I concerned? I don't know, really I don't. I guess I just thought so highly of Tom that I figured he'd fix it.

So I missed out. That's what I'm mad about. I had a chance over the last 5 or 6 years to get to know a really great man and I blew it. No, I don't think I could have influenced him in any way to change the circumstances causing his death. He had plenty of friends - good one's in fact - and his family was loving and there for him as well. Selfishly - I just wish I'd have known him better. I know he would have added to my life.

Tom will be missed. If it's possible, or makes sense, I wish I could be missing him more.

15 comments:

Jenny Davidson said...

It makes sense. I am sorry for your loss.

Spokane Al said...

As we get older, life tends to cause us to sometimes repeat the late singer Warren Zevon's refrain, "Should of done, should of done." But, as humans, we do the best we can and cheer the victories and mourn our losses.

I am sorry for your loss.

Wedgie said...

My only advice is do not deny your feelings. If you feel angry, then feel angry. Or sad. Or whatever. You need to experience these emotions in order to get through them. And know that while you're thinking about Tom, others are thinking about you.

SWTrigal said...

My heart goes out to you about losing your friend. Especially so suddenly. Family dying is awful but when a friend dies, there is a deep different deep kind of sadness-on top of that-you didn't get to say goodbye. Maybe you could find a way, your own way to "say goodbye"

Wendy said...

A difficult week indeed. I feel for you, and Tom's other friends and family.

21stCenturyMom said...

I'm sorry you lost your friend. I lost a friend a couple years ago and deeply regretted not visiting him more towards the end of his life. It's hard when someone dies because there are no do-overs. You just have to remember this as you move forward in life.

The Clyde said...

Sorry for loss Man, things like this are never easy. I'm "only" 32 and already have lost two friends like this. Guys you get along with, but don't hang out with as much as have you should for one reason or the other.

I feel for ya.

triguyjt said...

sorry for your loss bigun...
Its okay to do the "i should have...I may have missed out" stuff. I am sure Tom was a super guy....
May he rest in peace

IronTriTim said...

Very interesting and thought provoking post Bigun, thankyou. Reminds you that you need to work hard to maintain/build friendships. I would have never heard of Tom if you had not mentioned it in your post, so theres one person more remembering him than if you had not posted.

momo said...

i'm sorry that you're going through this big guy, and i know exactly how you feel. hopefully this will remind a lot of us to pick up the phone more often, to make time, because sometimes - you just never get the chance to.

big hugs to you.

Taconite Boy said...

Im sorry friend. Prayers are with Tom's family and kids.

IronJenny said...

I'm so sorry Bigun. You guys have had such a week...
Very truthful post; thanks for sharing.
Big midwestern e-hugs for you both.
xoxoxo

Ryan said...

Sorry to hear about your friend.

Brent Buckner said...

Sad news.

Thanks for sharing the life lesson.

Supalinds said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Di's loss and of course Tom's family. With a little brother that struggles with drug addiction, stemming from pain killers, this post tears me up inside. It so often ends this way.

Hugs!!!