Today was a miserable weather day. It began with heavy rains and there was a high wind warning with dire predictions about downed trees and possible power outages (I did give my generator a huge hug when I took the dog out this morning, knowing we would not have to worry about an outage).
I am subject to more than usual melancholy on bad weather days, all the more these days of social isolation. So, it was with a great deal of effort that I put on my running shoes and about the middle of the day headed up to the treadmill to try to escape the mental funk I was in. I am trying to be very conscious about keeping as active as possible and keep looking at my fitbit to check my steps, and my resting heart rate. Occasionally, I would even get some messages via the Fitbit app from a very old friend, Silvio. I had been introduced to him by a high school friend and we became almost immediate friends, same fraternity in college, in each other’s wedding parties (he was the best man at my first wedding). We shared multiple episodes of stupidity where we ended up kind of lucky to be standing given how often we would drive around in slightly less than optimal condition. Silvio had a huge Olds Toronado that was most often the ferry boat for all of us as it was the largest car any of us had, and he loved to drive. One of the few times he didn’t drive, I did (a ’64 Olds F-85 was my vehicle then). It was for his bachelor party and he ended up being so sick that it took me weeks to get the smell our of my car. We stayed close for a few years after college. He even helped me move from Yonkers up to the Berkshires in 1979 (no one in the Bronx knew about hiring someone to move. You helped each other out back then). We always stayed in touch, but we did move different ways. Silvio a very accomplished CPA; me, teaching, life, families, distances, time, all got in the way. We didn’t see much over the past bunch of years, I think the last time we actually saw each other was a dinner at his home around 10 or 12 years ago. Both of us very happily remarried and with wonderful partners in our spouses, or perhaps at the home of the friend who had introduced us, also around 10 or so years ago. 18 days ago (and I only know because FitBit keeps track of things like that) I received a message from him as I occasionally did when we were trying to coordinate meeting for some drinks, a meeting that invariably was put off because of life interruptions. It went like this: “Hope all is well with you and your family. This is weird shit. Let’s get together after this ends, Silvio” I replied: “Never in my life would I have believed we would be living in a world like this. We are well, thank you…yes, we finally need to get together after all this” He wrote back: “Wow, time has flown, my 50th HS get together has been cancelled. Stay well my old friend.” My reply: “our 50th is not supposed to happen till October so it’s still on for the moment but who knows, you guys stay safe as well, it’s really good hearing from you. Here’s my cell, ###-###-####. Store it away somewhere in case you need it.” His closing reply: “Here’s mine ###-###-####.”
So it was that when I came down from the treadmill I started to scroll through the emails that had built up on my phone while I was up there….about half way though came one titled “very sad news today”…it began..”I received a heartbreaking call from Silvio’s wife…this morning…Silvio passed away yesterday after being on a ventilator… this is unexpected, devastating news….” There was more but I’ll leave it at that, sometimes there simply are no words that do emotions justice, this is one of those occasions. Eighteen days ago, we were planning on making sure we got together after this mess, now the mess itself has forever put that on hold. “Here’s mine” were the last words I’ll ever get from him. Sometimes there are just no words…
…..sometimes smiles and memories sprinkled with tears just have to do.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, Dr. Neil Floch’s gastric sleeve patient with over 180 lb. weight loss