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Love, Loss, & Limbo

Love, Loss, & Limbo

A couple of short weeks ago, a friend of mine and his children had to say goodbye to his wife and their mother. The last couple of weeks have been a blur of every feeling for this family - all together, all at once.

Their hearts are broken and I can feel it through everything they say and do. Even still, they have approached each day with a kind of poised grace and open heart that I am not sure I have ever seen. Selfishly, it has been such a privilege to be a witness to their support system and learn from their actions and willingness to do whatever it takes to get to the other side of this.

Watching them navigate the loss of such a vital piece of their family has been one of the most excruciating and beautiful things I have ever witnessed. They have come together with love, somehow, I guess through a super human level of strength.

Two days after the funeral, we threw a birthday party for their youngest daughter at the Mayo. I’m sure that now you think I’m going to write a generic and overly formal few paragraphs about the night. Thank the community. Thoughts and Prayers. But, that’s not my style and it’s not theirs either. That’s why I love them so much. 

We started the event the way every good sh*tshow begins, Jeff (the party’s host and one of the family’s best friends) and I weren’t speaking. I had asked him to help me load all 450 balloons into the elevator to take to his condo on the 4th floor. He took so long to get there that I fantasized about setting fire to each pair of his designer sweatpants one by one, while I suffocated from the helium filled rubber covering my face. 

When he answered the phone and said, “I still have to shower. What am I going to do with all of those balloons?”....well I don’t remember what happened after that. I blacked out from rage. All I recall is screaming, “You need a shower?! I need a f*cking shower.” In my eyes, this well-rested bachelor was ready for war.

When I came to, there was no blood on my clothes so I assumed, not cared, just assumed that Jeff was unmaimed. Caleb, our neighbor, friend, and a valued member of our weird little Mayo Residence coven, was sitting across from me with the kind of face that suggested he might have some kind of online certification that he had to earn to have this conversation and white paint overspray covering the majority of his face and clothes from whatever it is he had been tasked with. He lightly rested his large, former basketball player hand on mine and slowly said, “Maybe you guys need a break from each other?”

We did. We definitely did. The days that preceded this one had been filled with pizza roll tray after pizza roll tray, teenagers, kids, tears, sleepless nights and that thick fog that wraps around a group of people trying to survive something like this. It is murky, oftentimes unpleasant and you can’t really see anything in front of you but it’ll bind you quicker than anything else ever could. 

We weren’t going to take a break because we couldn’t. At least, we wouldn’t have been able to. We deeply needed each other and they needed us which felt like the only way anyone was still standing. 

It was at this moment that it happened. The thing that always happens after tragedies - the silver lining. The room was full, not just with Caleb, Jeff (who cares) and I, but with their huge wonderful family and neighbors that had gravitated towards this space like a magnet. 

But there we were. This island of lost toys that had all gathered to live in a historic hotel downtown that is rumored to be reserved for only wealthy divorced men or a D list celebrity recovering from a scandal. But that’s our home and inside of it is something entirely different.

That night, it was a single mom and her three little kids, a retired basketball player that built a business off of a Rolls Royce he bought on a whim yet you’ll rarely catch him outside of a paint covered sweatshirt, a Jeff, his best friend, a bunch of great kids, and a lot of family who love the heck out of this sweet girl. All smashed onto the patio of a bachelor pad in the sky, doing the limbo with a bunch of 10-year-olds because that is what this little girl needed.

I know when Jeff’s designer picked out his Almost Famous ass pink velvet barstools that he never would have imagined they would have had this many kids piled on top of them but I know deep down, he thought they were the best they had ever looked.

More importantly, that night surrounding this family that we all love so much, was the best any of us a$$holes have ever felt. 

The energy coming from this family as they danced under the stars was a type of magic I wish I could bottle. It was so pure and full of love for their mother, wife, and family member who would have loved to see her little girl celebrated so hard. I wish I had a way to say this that didn’t feel so overtly earnest - but it was in watching the people that loved them and the friends and neighbors that were holding them up, that I realized this is what family is. I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of this one.

If you would like to contribute to this family as they learn to navigate their new normal, please use the link below and funds will be used to provide the family with meals.

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