Our Cousin Vinny

June 4, 2013 at 8:53 am | Posted in Friends Then and Now | 1 Comment

In this day and age, it seems there are few things that can stop a person in their tracks.  But there are some things, and one of those things is the sudden loss of an old friend.

In the midst of the craziness that consumed my life last week, I received the terrible news.  A childhood friend of mine had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.  This terrible reality stopped me in my tracks.  I was going a thousand miles per hour to pack up my home when I was hit with this terrible dose of reality.

Though I hadn’t seen him in a long time, I had recently been posting photos of him, thinking of him.  While he certainly had closer friends and family, I couldn’t help but feel a part of me die along with him.

There was a time when I wanted to break free from everything that I had known.  I didn’t want my hometown, the people I grew up with, to define me.  I needed to stand my own ground, be my own person.  I wasn’t in touch with people for a few years, and I know people lose touch, but not me.  I don’t forget. I don’t leave people behind.  In recent years, I’ve been reconnecting with many of these people because they are a part of who I am and the person I have and will become.  It is undeniable the impact my childhood friends had on me and that includes Vinny.  I grew up in a close knit community.  My classmates were my friends and my family.

Vinny was a smart, fun-loving guy.  I never knew him to have any enemies or problems with anyone.  I would follow his adventures online — how he moved out to the west coast, how he traveled the world.  It seemed he had a lot going for him.  He loved his family and his friends.  I found photos of us from nursery school and more from middle school, high school and from college breaks.  He was at my Bat-Mitzvah, my sweet 16.  He was always there, ready for a laugh, ready to enjoy life.

And just like that, he’s gone, and it just doesn’t seem right.  I can’t erase the image from my mind of his family following his casket down the aisle at the church.  I can’t erase the image of his best friends serving as pallbearers.  I know these best friends well, too, and hurt for them, too.  I can’t understand how this happened. It just doesn’t seem real.

But I know Vinny.  My cousin Vinny. Our cousin Vinny.  A friend to everyone, someone who lived the hell out of life, wouldn’t want everyone to stop living.  Vinny would want us to live our lives with joy.  Vinny would want us to go on.

And we will.  Somehow, we will.  But we will do it with his memory with us forever.  His footprints side by side with our own.  We will carry his memory through the journeys of our lives.  Through us, he will live on.

We love you Vinny.

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  1. […] this was the home stretch.  But on top of that, I was traveling on my old friend’s birthday, my old friend who recently passed suddenly, my old friend, who I planned to reconnect with when I was booking this trip.  I couldn’t […]

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