I know that it has been a while since I last posted. I think that it was a combination of sleep deprivation from my almost 6 month old daughter waking me up throughout the night, and perhaps the labor of my new job at a top media company that have sucked the creativity out of my brain. However, this little story made me stop and appreciate my role of friend.
A few days ago I received a text on my new work mobile from a local number, which stated simply, "Miss you man". Now, those who know me well know that I don't typically respond to missed phone calls or elusive texts from phone numbers that I do not recognize. These three words however made me stop and think. The tone and use of these three words sounded like a male voice, and held a hint of sadness in them. "Miss you man" held a certain level of importance that I could not seem to let go.
I responded simply, "Who is this?", thinking that perhaps someone had accidentally sent a message to a misdialed number and would want to know so that they could send it again to the correct recipient. I neither expected to receive a response, nor did I expect for those three words to have the following meaning:
"This is my old roomate's number, he passed away...always text him every now and then, sorry for the inconvenience".
These words stunned me. They hit straight to the heart, and in that moment I cared as much for this stranger that I only knew through a few lines of text on an anonymous phone, as I would for a friend in need. We shared a poignant moment of our lives in common; we shared the feeling of loss of a loved one. I too have lost a good friend, a best friend, much too early in life. I felt compelled to respond yet again. "Awww. No inconvenience. Happy that I inherited the number of someone special. What was his name?" I had to know the name of the person that I was now tied to. the previous owner of an intangible item. A phone number. Something that I never had given any real level of importance before.
He responded once more: "David Ellsworth...he was only 26. A good man, enjoy the rest of your day". I thought of John. My dear friend who passed away when he was only 25 with the light of life still ahead of him. After a long and trying fight, he lost his life to cancer at just 25 years of age. I responded just once more, "wow. I lost one of my best friends to cancer when he was just 25. I still think of his often. One never things that they will loose a friend so early. Thank you for sharing. You can text him at this number any time. I will think of it as John Biggs who I lost too early".
It was a cathartic experience that I shared with this stranger over the wave of a text transmission. One that I would never have thought that I would experience with my mobile phone, an item which I would generally like to run over with my car.
This post is dedicated to the friends and family that we have all lost or will loose. It is also my way of demonstrating that all people, from all walks of life and places in the world are interconnected through the fundamental phases and life experiences that we share. We are human after all, and while we have many lovely differences which make us unique, we are united in more than we often realize.
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