Monday, December 7, 2009
on the fifth day of christmas, gone too soon
It is with great pain that I say goodbye to one of my oldest, funniest, sweetest friends, Jon. We were close since we were 12, and like several other young men I knew from middle/high school, Jon has taken his life. I'm sitting in Newport, equadistant from the graves of Brian and Stefan, friends who also succumbed to the seduction of suicide, in the city brimming with nostalgia, and I am stricken with grief. (I had to post this grainy obituary picture because my yearbooks and photographs are at home.) Jon was bombastic just like me, and he had a tender heart, which he denied, just like I did. I never would have survived the hour-long morning bus rides without him, in his seemingly hundreds of #22 jerseys. And he was the first boy I ever kissed.
The last time I saw him was in Newport just after the birth of his son, and he was so proud, so emotional, so tall. He loved Clyde Drexler, I liked Kevin Duckworth (if I had to pick a Trailblazer, that is), but we agreed, when our babies were born, that they in fact, were the most magnificent things on earth.
He died the day before his birthday. He left his cherished son and daughter, their mama, and a small class of 105 Newport High School alumni, who are now down nine.
It's too late for words. There aren't any. There are memories, what ifs, and gravestones at which to stare. I was going to visit Brian's tomorrow, but yours won't even be in the ground yet Jon, and you shouldn't be either. Fuck.
Jonathan Damon Strickland: 1976--2009.