Originally published on September 9, 2008 on our old blog.
Yesterday was 2 years since we lost my dear friend, Asim. His suicide is, quite possibly, the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. Health issues, deaths of other close friends, heartaches over the years…they all pale in comparison to the loss of such a wonderful human being. I still think about him every single day. He touched so many people and made our lives a little bit sparklier.
I have so many good memories and emotions connected to Asim. And not a day goes by that I don’t have a fond memory of him. But this past two years has also been a struggle for me of contradictions and roller coaster dichotomies.
~How could someone I was so close to have been able to keep plans like this such a secret…from everyone?
~How could he be so supportive of everyone else…such a problem solver and support network in all of our lives…and yet be unable to ask for that same loving supportive help in return?
~How can I still feel so close to him (even now I still feel his presence) and yet at the same time feel like I’m starting to forget him (his voice, his laugh, his funny mannerisms)?
~How can it be that being so far removed from it all….over 1,000 miles away, is both a blessing and a curse (not many here to talk to about Asim…not many here who even knew him)?
~I wonder how he could have done this to himself…and to all of us. And I tell myself that if he could have come up with any other way to stop his pain without causing us pain, he would have. But he couldn’t find any other way and so, in relieving himself of so much pain and anguish, it seems he has caused a similar pain and confusion for all of us.
~I struggle with the hope that maybe I could have helped him (so many what ifs) and the knowledge that perhaps there was nothing that any of us could have done.
~I wonder why the arrival in my life of such a wonderful new friend (Miss H) had to coincide with the devastating loss of another? (And yes, Miss H, I still believe you are Asim’s last gift to me.)
~Why can’t I delete his numbers from my cell phone? I even had them transferred over to my new phone earlier this year.
~Why is it so easy and so hard to talk about him?
I know that if Asim had not been such an amazing person the pain would be less…and so I happily suffer it because of this. It is the price I willingly pay for having someone so wonderful touch my life so very deeply, even if for far too brief a time.
But, Asim left me a lot more happy memories and funny thoughts as well. And in honor of that here are some of my favorite things about him. While we do miss you Asim, and it is hard for all of us, in the end we remember you with fondness, and always with a smile or a laugh.
~You’re the friend who so strongly believed in the goodness of people, and endeavored to see it and bring it out in everyone. I think your passing has led us all to endeavor to do that more in each of our lives.
~I loved that your driving speed was directly proportional to how good (and how loud) the song was on your car stereo.
~I miss your warmth and friendship…how you were always so excited to talk to your friends, to really listen to what was going on in their lives, and to always be so open and friendly to anyone new you met. Your first impression with anyone was always of a genuinely kind, friendly, and interested person.
~I miss how cool and hip you always looked. Such impeccable taste.
~You always donated so much of your time and yourself to causes you believed in and always inspired all of us to do the same. Even now we are all off in our little corners of the world devoting time and love to causes we believe in because of your example.
~You were always devoted to your family, even in those times when it was hard for you because you felt like you didn’t fit in or were lying to them or disappointing them. All of our chats about this also helped me in those moments when I felt like I didn’t fit in with my family either.
~You loved to laugh and to spend time with those who were important to you, which it turns out was a large group…no surprise there.
~You loved adventures and were always jetting off to some corner of the world or trying something new and exciting just around the corner. Even now I still tell some of your crazy travel stories at dinner parties.
~You loved good food (a trait we both share) and I can’t even begin to remember all the fun dinners and lunches and breakfasts we shared over the years…and all the wonderful restaurants you introduced me to. I still eat at Lek’s every time I am in Montgomery.
~Ah, the music & the books & the movies…you were a big fan of very varied tastes…I think that just about every time we talked or emailed you had some new song or book or movie critique to share with me. And all the concerts…
~I remember the first night we met. When J brought me over to your apartment in Montgomery. And you threw open the door and gave me a big hug and I instantly fell madly for you. After that we were always thick as thieves.
~I’ll never forget when I got really sick and had to have chemo…and you were one of the friends who didn’t run out the door…who could joke with me about chemo and illness because you had been there yourself. I remember you going to chemo with me when you were visiting Chicago and how it was one of the funniest chemo days ever…and we got the giggles and couldn’t stop laughing and everyone was staring at us. And I’ll never forget how incredibly mad with me you were when I told you I was quitting treatment…I’d never heard you yell at anyone. And yet, even that was done with such love and caring that it almost made us laugh out loud.
~I remember the night you first came out to me (and I was one of the first people you told). It was such a stressful and yet finally blissful night for us, especially you, since you spent the first hour or so of the evening opening your mouth to try and speak…and then nothing would come out. When you finally managed to tell me and J we both cheered and gave you a big hug. I think you knew that such a revelation wouldn’t make any difference in our friendship and I’m glad.
~I’ll never forget introducing you to Kyle and having you be one of the first people in the world to know that we were dating. And we still tell the story about how you told me that if they could ever clone a gay Kyle you’d take two.
~I’ll never forget seeing you the morning of my wedding…and having a big hug and a good laugh and chat over how amazingly surreal the day felt…too much like a fairytale in that amazing location. And I won’t ever forget seeing you when I was walking down the aisle, or the wonderful speech you gave at dinner…or how giggly you and my friend Rene’ got. I still watch my wedding video sometimes just to see you.
~But most of all, I will always remember and cherish our chats. How it seemed like we could, and usually did, tell each other everything, in frank detail. ~And I’ll remember how you always swept me up in a giant bear hug and called me Miss Kat. I miss that most of all.
We won’t forget you, Asim. Even two years later you are always with us…even in those moments when we can’t feel you. And yes, I know you’re thrilled that so many of us still try to keep in touch with each other…you were always wanting to introduce all of us. I know that you are watching all of this and wishing that you could ease our pain with one of your big bear hugs or share a laugh with us. And that really does make all this easier.
P.S. I have your funny little folk art painting of a possum. It makes me laugh every single time I look at it. 🙂
With Love. Kat