In memory of a real friend

remembering...

  Suddenly, it sounds like every bird around are each singing at once.  My mind feels empty but my heart is exploding with a deep sadness.  

I learned today that my dear friend passed on this morning. 

I don’t like death.  I just don’t.  I miss people who die.  And now, my dear friend, a man I considered my accidental adopted father, Sonny, has left this earth. 

Sonny was an amazing human being.  I’ve never known anyone who experienced as many losses in one lifetime as Sonny did and adding to that was a will to live like no other I’ve ever seen.  

I watched Sonny carry on after losing three sons, two of whom I knew and loved.  They each passed on at different times in life, the last one, Sonny’s oldest son, passed not too long ago, the loss of which did have a severe impact on my friend Sonny. 

The last time I saw him he said he wished he could come live with me and I wanted him to.  I really did.  Then I could see him I thought.  Even if he died I could be with him.  I considered it wondering if home health would come in.  I would have taken care of him if I had been able.  I would have until his last day. 

I wish it wasn’t so.  I wish I’d gone three days ago, two weeks ago, and I wish I’d done what he said when I talked to him several weeks ago. 

“Sugar, you should call me every day the rest of my life.” 

Sonny knew and so did I. 

I had gone to visit him not long ago,which was the last time I saw Sonny, and was so sad to see him in the shape he was in.  He recognized me though and he knew my son too. 

I took a picture of us with my cell phone and he could barely see it but he laughed and said, “Sugar you look about as bad as I do.”

I laughed too thinking how at least somebody could see my illness. 

Sonny saw my illness and it made him sad.  He missed too the way I was before but he loved me as I was.  Sonny called me when he saw something on television about fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or mental illness.  God Sonny loved us! 

He sang me a song not long ago.  I was so sad I couldn’t think and now I can’t remember the name of it.  He sang the words — I’ve always got you on my mind —  his voice was fragile but he still managed to sing to me.  He didn’t care how it sounded.  He told me it was so.  He said I was always on his mind. 

Sonny was at the state hospital with me when my son was very ill and I didn’t know what was wrong.  He was there all the way through it and sat beside of me when the doctors told me words that took me down, literally, and Sonny held me while I cried tears that felt like they came from the bottom of the ocean. 

Sonny was a mechanic and loved old Mustangs.  I was 26 years old when I first pulled my 1966  into the gas station’s parking lot.  The first man I met had the same name as my father and reminded me a bit of him.  My father had passed away shortly before.  Seeing my car the man called out to Sonny.  I couldn’t believe it.  He looked just like my dad only he had gray hair.  He sounded like my dad.  He moved like my dad.  I felt nearly haunted. 

He had a small cigar dangling from the corner of his mouth.  He loved my car and made some pretty common remarks you might hear at a gas station in reference to the looks of the driver, if the driver is female that is.  From that day forward, Sonny became my adopted father.I never  told Sonny certain things my dad had always done for me, such as fixing my car problems and buying my son and I a coat every Christmas.  These were things my dad did for me, no matter what.  My dad didn’t have much money but what he had he handled it well.   Oddly, when I met Sonny and told him how much he was like my dad, he began doing these exact things. 

Now I cry.  I knew Sonny leaving would make me miss my dad more too. 

I don’t like death.  It is too sad.  People leave forever.  

Sonny always told me I changed his life.  He became a bachelor after he met me and he lived happily ever after, calling his ex-wives by numbers.  “Wife number two called today,” or “number three.”  They were always calling and he enjoyed telling folks about how so many women wanted him. 

“I feel like a nineteen year-old in an old man’s body,” he’d say enthusiastically.  

I cry again.  His first wife died, the mother of their sons who have died. 

Sonny carried on.  Sonny always carried on… 

Sonny was a funny man.  He and my mother got along great because of their joke-telling abilities.  The first time my oldest sister met Sonny she cried.  She was very close to our dad and when she saw Sonny’s blue eyes, she cried.  They looked exactly like our dad’s. 

His daughter told me today that he went outside yesterday.  He got dressed.  He wanted to sit in the sun.   He was just like my dad.  Even in the end they wanted to wear nice clothes.  They liked being neat and clean.  They wanted to look handsome.  And they did.  

I was driving home at dusk yesterday.  I felt that feeling of being in between.  Not quite dark but no longer day.  I thought of my dog’s nearby gravesite.  Sonny.  I thought of him right then.  I had been thinking the past few days — call Sonny, no go see him, but I didn’t.  So for that too, I cry.  I wish so much I could have said good-bye. 

Sonny gave me a Subaru once.  The greatest little car I’ve ever had.  Sonny helped my son once and I don’t know what we would have done otherwise. 

Sonny listened when I cried.  He listened when I spoke.  He heard me.  

 He completely loved my son.  He said he saw him the same as his own grandson.  

Sonny always told me I was a good mother.  If I said I felt otherwise, he had a never-ending list of reminders for me of all that he remembered while I was raising my son.  My son was about seven or eight when we met Sonny. 

Sonny was my dear and good friend.

 

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11 responses to this post.

  1. I’m so sorry, sweetheart, that you lost dear Sonny but you also gave him so much too. Please remember that Love works both two ways. Sonny and your dad live on forever in your heart and soul and let their memories bring you comfort. Believe in your open heart and receiving messages and you will get some, I’m sure. I get messages from my dad when I need them. They come in many forms. Love from your soul sister, Laurie

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    • Wow, and today is the 22nd. I still miss Sonny. I’m glad I re-read this post. Thank you for commenting on it, Laurie. You have a big heart and I’m glad I have a place in it. Sonny would have liked you. He was a good man, and my dear friend. I will always remember him and love him.

      Hugs to you,
      Love, your friend,
      Michelle.

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      Reply

  2. You and Sonny touched each other in profound and amazing ways. Thank-you for sharing your Sonny. This is a wonderful tribute to his being. Peace and love to you and Sonny.

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    • Hi tobeme!!! Long time since we communicated! So nice to hear from you. I have thought of you lately, so it is weird that you commented. Well, not so weird I guess, that happens to me a lot.
      I hope you are doing great.
      Thank you for reading about my friend Sonny. I wrote that right after I learned he had passed. I simply didn’t know what to do but write. I may write another tribute to Sonny. I am on my way now to his final service. I loved Sonny and I miss him as I write. He is no longer in pain. He does not have to miss his sons or their mother anymore. Sonny is at peace now. For that, I am happy for him.
      He was 81, not old enough to leave yet, but he lived through so many hard times.
      Thank you again for your comment.
      In loving memory of Sonny,
      dogkisses.

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  3. Oh, Miss Dogkisses, I am so very, very sorry to hear of your dear friend’s passing. I am so sorry to have just now found your post (and your comment on mine). I have been in hibernation for the last few days. If one is asleep, then the real world does not exist. Some days it is better that way.

    I know that Sonny would not be happy that you are beating yourself up like you are. He knew (and still knows) how hard life can be for you sometimes with this dreadful disease. He knew that you did what you could manage during your bad times. He would not want you to stay sad about the last few weeks.. He would not want you to keep beating yourself up. He would want you to remember him with happy thoughts, with warm memories.

    So you remember that. For now, be sad about his passing, because that is sad and painful, too. And, unfair. You need to mourn this deep loss. You need to grieve for him and even for your father again. But please, don’t torture yourself with thoughts of “I should have..”, “If only…”. Sonny would not want you to. You were just as good of a friend to him as he was to you. He would not like someone treating his good friend like that. And I, who count you as a dear friend too, don’t like it either.

    So, you be kind to Sonny’s and my good friend and cut her some slack. She is hurting and she needs a hug. And, she needs a shoulder–one that I can, unfortunately, only give her in words and thoughts and prayers. I hope you can feel them. I am squeezing my eyes tight and sending you hugs and love each time I think of you.

    Fondly,
    me
    CJ

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    • Dear CJ,
      Thank you. You have no idea how much this comment means to me. I have been alone and I have cried so much I have made myself sick.
      You are right Sonny would surely not want that! He always wanted me happy. That man was awesome! I talked with his daugther last night so that helped. She is going to give me my favorite picture of him. He was young on a motorcycle in it. He looked just like my dad. He was always proud, just like my dad, of his looks, but in a sweet and modest way.
      He chose to be cremated but I did get to say good-bye anyway at the funeral home. Even the owners of the funeral home knew and loved Sonny, so he got a free spot there for a while.
      Everyone who knew Sonny loved Sonny. I loved him with all my heart.
      Thanks for your kind words. They come through the wire straight to my heart. You are right I do need a hug. My other best friend is out of the country but my mom called last night.
      My mom called me honey. I’m still processing that. I was shocked. I haven’t heard that since I was a little girl.
      When she said it I thought maybe Sonny couldn’t talk to me like I wished yesterday. I wished it was like on tv, where people come back and tell you things — anything — I wanted him to appear — and once I did smile and feel his spirit.
      Then my mom called and said, “How are you honey?”
      So I thought well, maybe Sonny visited her and told her I needed what he always gave me, which was the special kind of love you only get from a parent, blood related or not.
      I will try to remember what you say here. Sonny’s sister is going to spread some of his ashes over the sound in Washington. Sonny was a Sea-Scout when he was young. His dad started the first bakery in Chapel Hill and Sonny came here to help him. Later he became a mechanic and fixed more cars for me than I can count.
      I have been loved. I do know that.
      Thank you CJ.

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  4. What a wonderful man he must have been. In this world where people don’t let you in you both found something you needed. I know how hard it is to lose the people you love. I’ve felt like an orphan for so long I don’t know the difference. It’s a rare thing to have someone like Sonny in your life. It’s a wonderful tribute to a very special man. I know you’ll miss him so much.

    I’m so sorry for your loss sweetie.

    God bless him and keep him.

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  5. I feel like I got a glimpse of the kind of men both Sonny and your dad were. I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you had a very special bond and gave him just as much happiness as he gave you. Hugs to you.

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  6. Loving tribute to a Man, Sonny, who you obviously loved with your whole heart. It sounds like he loved you and your son just as much. Losing as old friend is so very hard, but everything he taught you and all the wisdom and love he showed you will be with you forever. You are so fortunate to have had two men in your life, your own Father and then Sonny, that both loved you completely. I will pray for both you and Sonny.
    xoxomo

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    • Hi mo– thanks for reading. I really haven’t known what to do today since I found out. I’m pretty lost so I guess that is why I posted, writing and remembering Sonny.

      Sonny lived a good life despite many losses. He made me feel loved and cared for. He was a good friend to any person who met him but I felt very special to him. He most certainly was to me.

      Yes, I am grateful to have been loved by Sonny and my dad, and that I have fond memories of them. If there is any such place as heaven then they are surely there.

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