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Ghost #2


"I think its very normal and human to want to be remembered. I know I'd like to be remembered. I think in a sense, its part of the reason I secretly yearn for some sort of fame, some sort of big success, so lots of people will know me, and lots of people will remember me. I think its one way I want to cheat death. I think its what other people in the past have felt too. They don't want to die, but even more so, they don't want to be forgotten, BECAUSE to be forgot is, in a sense, to have never existed! And the idea of never existing is troubling to most people. It doesn't seem to make sense, to be alive now, to sense our existence now, but to also suspect that when we die we will be forgotten and we will be unknown by anyone a century from now and therefore will seem to have never existed."

When I made the semi-permanent shift to the Central Time Zone in 2003, I found myself in a state of extreme emotional flux. I had just finished burying my grandfather after a sudden illness, my relationship with my boyfriend was crumbling (a fact we both knew at the time, but decided to put aside in the name of convenience, friendship and, well, soldiering on), and I was coping with the fact that I had started over and left everything I had ever known behind me in the name of economic feasibility. Emotionally fragile, but still determined to be resourceful, I put all of my charm and wit to use in this forum in the hopes of getting new friends to go with my new location.

George gradually emerged from the crowds of people in the Kansas City network on LiveJournal to say hello and make me feel welcome in a very strange and scary place. I'm not exactly sure how or when it happened; at the time, I remembered reading a series of emails alerting me to new comments on my entries. When I finally had the chance to sit down and check out the blog of this mystery commenter, I discovered someone who was disarmingly humorous and witty, with a penchant for making up random word strings under the heading "Band Names For Sale."

I do not remember when I first coined the term "terminally positive," but I do know that the phrase was initially used to describe George. Unrelenting in his matter-of-fact humor and independent spirit, George would waste no time cheering me up when I was at my gloomiest, but would also refuse to allow me to feel self-pity when it was counterproductive. At one point during a bit of heartache, he yelled at me for being shy and exclaimed, "The perfect man for you could be another shy person. HOW THE FUCK ARE YOU TWO EVER GOING TO MEET? Ain't gonna fucking happen."

This spirit carried over to his day-to-day life to a sometimes stubborn degree; despite battling cancer (and losing a leg in the process), George refused to back down from adversity or accept defeat. Where conventional medicine expressed limitation, George thumbed his nose at nay-saying doctors and did his own research to improve his quality of life. He wouldn't even let me hold a door open for him or slow down my walking pace when we were walking together. When we had lawn seats to a concert, I made the mistake of offering him a hand up at the end of the night. His softly determined look and stern "Don't ever ask me that," made me realize that this was not a man to ever underestimate, let alone pity.

I learned a lot from this man and his tenacity, even though we rarely saw each other in person. We would pop in and out of discussion on each other's blogs here and there to check in and keep up, even though the updates gradually grew less frequent. Eventually he moved back to his parents' home in Virginia to finish his college degree and concentrate on his health, and we fell out of communication with one another as I slowly migrated to other social platforms and away from extended written thoughts.

As I was preparing to reopen some old memories and start writing here again, I started reading up on my long lost friends and extending many "mea culpa" comments to let some of my favorite people know that I was on my way back. When I got to George's site, my heart slowly started to sink as I realized that the last entry on the page was dated June 2007. Feeling an inevitable sense of dread, I read the comments that followed the post.

George had lost his long and vicious battle with cancer.

George, you are the only ghost whose real name I am comfortable using here, and I want you to know that I am eternally grateful for the short time we had together as friends on this mortal plane. Thank you for the tough love when I needed it. Thank you for your clever words, for your insight and for your undying wit. Thank you for being a positive influence in a long line of negative ones that need closure here.

Goodbye. You will, without a doubt, always be remembered.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 7th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, Jenny, that's so sad. He sounds like an amazing person, and he was obviously a good influence on your life when you really needed it.
Apr. 8th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
I'm sure he never forgot you. You are pretty unforgettable, after all. I'm sorry that he's gone.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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