“Or must I say the streets are bare unless it is your door I face …” – June Jordan, Sunflower Sonnet Number One
I lost one of my best friends this week. Tim was a badass. He and I were friends the last two years of high school, and he had a big part in helping me be the independent woman I wanted to be. He and another friend, Derek, they were fans of critical thinking and that’s something that had been missing from my education up to that date. I can’t thank him enough for that.
Tim was gorgeous, but we both knew nothing like that would ever happen between us. He became a rock, the person I could and would talk to about anything.
What I remember most: His blue, smiling eyes, how much he made people laugh, how his parting advice in my senior yearbook was “stay away from boys with jeeps” (he was one, by the way) and how much he loved his motorcycle.
That I, we, lost him in a motorcycle accident seems incomprehensible. He survived 9/11 only to die “doing what he loved.” He had a wife Amy, who we went to school with, and two young sons. Their uncle asked people to share stories about Tim so they could tell the boys. So, below is my letter to his sons.
I love you, Tim. Thank you for giving us the most you could in the time you were here. I know you loved living as much as I do, and I promise to LIVE HARDER for you.
In Loving Memory
Dear Beau & Jake:
Your daddy was awesome. He and I were best friends the last two years of high school. We met because we were in all of the advanced classes together. Tim was one of the smartest kids in school. You should know that, because he’d want you to know that you two are bright and special, too.
So many people loved your daddy. He was kind, inquisitive and mischievous. You know, a little bit of a troublemaker. We had a chemistry lab together and one time, when we partnered up for an experiment with potassium, he broke the rules on purpose. You’re not supposed to get the potassium wet. But Tim wanted to see would happen if he picked up the chunk of potassium with wet tweezers. He caused a small explosion, burning a hole in the paper and probably the lab table underneath. I still have the paper somewhere. It has a K, the symbol for potassium, and then a giant hole burnt into it.
Tim was so sweet, but I think sometimes he just liked to shake things up to make sure life stayed fun. One time, him and another close friend Derek (THE smartest kid in our class) did something to get themselves suspended for a week. I really don’t remember what they did, but it was pretty amusing to me since Tim and our Valedictorian were otherwise harmless.
Given that we were all looking forward to college, Tim and Derek couldn’t let being suspended keep them from getting their schoolwork done. So, every day after school, I’d let Tim know what they missed and what the assignments were. We all graduated, of course, though I don’t think any of us three went where we thought we’d go for school. Tim wanted to be at Pepperdine but wound up finishing at Penn State. I was supposed to go to NYU, but then Derek and I both wound up at the University of New Hampshire.
After that, we lost touch. I became a journalist. Tim, who had owned his own company since I met him, continued on his path as an entrepreneur … consulting to other companies and helping them build the systems they needed to work properly. He lived in NYC for a short while, but your family can tell you about that.
I haven’t seen your daddy since we finally reconnected at our high school reunion. Your mom was there, too. They were happy and we all had a good time. Neither of you had been born yet. Two weeks later, I moved to NYC.
Tim and I stayed in touch here and there afterwards. I never expected to get a phone call saying he’s not here anymore.
I’m so sorry you didn’t get more time with your daddy. He was an amazing man. Gentle, smart and FUNNY. And he loved you two so much. You were his world.
So, know that he loves you. He’s probably looking out for you right now.
Emily, Tim’s old friend