Today was Pro's Bay Area memorial.
Becky's been touring the country, stopping at places where she and Pro lived, visiting with friends and inviting them to celebrate his life. Today was the Bay Area memorial, held ridiculously close to our house. We went, thinking about the event all morning, moving slowly, doing little else but thinking of Pro and telling various stories. The memorial was incredibly bittersweet: holy crap, look at all these amazing people whom I've met over the last 10 years of my life (wow!), holy crap, why does it take the death of a friend to bring all of these people together?
Wow, yeah, everyone, Becky, Kate, Mike, Liza, Maeryn, Kyle Schleifer, Bridget, Linda, Mark Smith, Cece, Nam, Keebler (who tells it like it is, when he commented my snowboarding jacket makes me look like a fireman), Sunita, Greg, Jo Adamkewicz, Keith, Jen Lee (it's not like anyone will be able to find me on Google), Nilla (yikes! he reads my site! awesome!), Dania (thinking about Wildflower for this year), Phil, Juliette (who played with us at Women's Masters Nationals), Jason Gische, Holly and Adrian and kids, Alan, Kat, Mike Peercy (crap, they had practice today and we didn't know), Doyle, Shirley, Wes, Gillian, Paul (who set up a slack line for people to walk on), Chookie, Martha, Liz and Mike, and so many kids that at least two ultimate teams could be formed with the next generation.
The event started around 3, with people filtering in over the hour. When Paul set up the slack line, I felt it was okay to pull out my camera, having felt uncomfortable about taking pictures of people in pain. Kate commented that the previous two memorials didn't have any pictures for them, and that Becky wanted some for remembering. Everyone played ultimate at the Hawaii memorial. Everyone dressed up too nicely at the San Diego memorial to be able to play ultimate. We had a good mix of casual and formal dress, with most everyone in comfortable clothes.
The first hour, we all talked, told stories, caught up with people we hadn't seen in years. I was comfortable until I said a big foot-in-the-mouth comment to Becky, and the event went downhill for me from there.
Becky started the Eulogy by thanking everyone, and reading a poem. I was fine for about 3 minutes, then pretty much lost it. I wanted to leave right there. I wanted to run away the way I had run away from BJ's accident, the way I had run away from the pain so many times. Why wasn't everyone there crying? I wanted to scream "I don't understand why is no one here crying?!" I still don't understand it. Out came the kleenex, and by sheer force of will I didn't honk into it.
Becky talked and said thanks, Greg Wolff talked and told Pro stories, Phil Price talked and told more Pro stories, Kate talked and told even more stories. I have to say that Greg and Phil had a lot of humour in their stories, because really, Pro was full of life and gusto and humour. The humour helped the pain recede a little bit. Kate didn't have quite as much humour in her words, almost as if, oh god, here was someone who understood, here was someone who was also in pain. I wanted to walk up to the podium and give Becky a big hug that never ended, then give Kate another one.
Once the eulogy was over, we talked a bit with a few more people, then left. I lasted as long as I could before I had to leave or completely break down and bawl my eyes out in front of everyone.
I'm unsure why Pro's death is so hard for me. I fear people are looking at me weird, thinking, "WTF, you weren't such close friends that it should hurt this much, two months later," that it really shouldn't hurt this much. I fear that my pain is infinitely selfish, that I'm mourning the recognition of my own mortality through Pro's death, that I'm expressing my fear of loss through tears that aren't completely for Pro. I fear that, crap, I'm surrounded by these amazing, awesome, incredible people, and my life is so unaccomplished in comparison, and the tears that flow are a sign of frailty and weakness, that I missed so many opportunities to be a better friend, that his death hurts so much because I ran away from the pain instead of helping Jo and Sunita and Greg search for the best trials for Pro, instead of emailing because I didn't know what to write, instead of calling and saying hey, because I didn't know what to say.
And so, I cry, as I've cried every day for the last two months. And I stop Kris during his day, step into his arms and just hold him, as if I'm trying to hold off the inevitable, because as much as this one hurts, I'm not sure I can bear what's coming.