It was March 6th when I had received an early phone call from a childhood friend. We really don’t talk on a regular and I was busy with Gracie at the moment. I ended up calling him back and the sound in his voice wasn’t normal. He asked me how I was and if I had a minute. Of course, I did, so he then continued with a tremble in his voice. I have known this boy since he was 12 years old so, I knew when something was wrong. He then started to cry and tell me that our very, very dear friend had died.
Just typing this is really hard. But I just had to write about him and I felt like publishing this on a day of recognition for our Veterans was more than suitable. I am genuinely going to just write to you as if we are sitting down talking about how incredible he is.
During this conversation on the phone, the obvious questions were asked, “What happened? How? Why do you think it did? Who was with him? Who found him?” I mean the questions were just rolling off my tongue and they wouldn’t stop accumulating in my mind. I quickly got the number for his mom and called her. Trying to see when she would be here and what I could do to help. She is such a strong and resilient women.
Scott was an absolute jokster! He was so incredibly conceded and sassy as ever. Ha! He was protective, smart, strong, encouraging, helpful, genuine, kind, accepting, loving and he was so irreplaceable. I just wish he knew all those things. I just wish I could have told him more and told him that he was worth it. He was worth the fight, he was worth having a magnificent life and that he was meant for greatness.
I would tell him to his face that he is not his past, he is not defined by the bad choices that he made or makes, that he is fooling himself to think he is anything but incredible and that he is really loved by a lot of people. I would tell him that I was sorry that after the last dinner he came to with my family I should not of let him leave the way he was. I know that he was no one’s responsibility but his own. However, I am only human and Scott had a way of absorbing your energy because he was so great to be around when he was himself. I would tell Scott that he is stronger than his addiction and that if he would trust me that I would of help him with his contribution to be consistent and promising.
But, I knew growing up with an addict you can not save them. You can encourage and empower them. You can help point them in directions that can be impactful positively in their life. You can be a tool in their personal toolbox to find and succeed in saving themselves. However, Scott was not an easy convince. He was determined to self-destruct and he was convinced he was not worth it. Or at least his actions showed that too me. I don’t want to believe that he was anything but wonderfully imperfect, flawed but full of love, laughter and so much goodness it could fill the universe. I just wish I could have told him. Scott was incredibly resourceful and he was really creative in the kitchen with food. In high school, he was one of my absolute best friends. I truly loved that kid and still do. He gave me a lot of really special memories along with others and kept me safe. One thing I always, always knew with Scott was that I was safe. He was truly my big brother and honestly, nothing or nobody would be able to convince me otherwise.
I struggle every single day still because it is really hard to truly believe he is not here. Even tho I probably talk his ear off every single day and he can not just leave and not listen as some boys would do that. I’m kidding, another thing Scott was really great at was, listening. Not just sitting there and hearing what you are saying. But, looking at you and engaging. Being present in the conversation and really genuinely listening to you. I find that to be something really special in a person. Because sometimes eye contact and deep conversation can make a lot of people uncomfortable. So when you meet someone that can manage truly listening, keep them close! They are so, so special.
Scott was born to be a soldier. I think that is why all growing up he had such a protective instinct. Either way, he became a Soldier for the US Army and he was a total badass! Straight up. If you were to ask any of his battle buddies about a story with Scott, I bet it is either Heroic or it will make you pee your pants from laughter.
I felt like sharing a photo was honoring to him to show his medals. I don’t know a lot of the specifics of his time during battle or being overseas other than the safe things he would share with me during letter writing or talking when he got home. He always told me he was protecting my mind and didn’t want me to worry about him. Which only made me worry more. I just do not think I told him that I love him enough. Scott did share some things with my mom during his time living with her. She shared a couple of the stories and now I know why he did not share them. I cried for days when I first was told, knowing he had to go thru that. I know that soldiers take that risk when they sign up, but it will never demean the fact that they go thru it. Scott is a hero and will forever be. Along with all of his incredible battle buddies and all the other Veterans all over the world. You are a hero, you are important and you are honored by me.
I feel like I wanted to write this to almost be therapeutic for myself yet, I don’t feel much different. It has been 7 months and 1 day since I received the phone call he was gone. Not one day has gone by without talking to him, smiling at his photo on our fridge, talking about him and thinking about all the variations of things that I wonder on. Going to his apartment the week his mom flew in was irie. I sat in a chair that he sat in and looked out the window that he would view the city sunsets at. I sat on his bed and discovered a letter and some of my items he held onto. I took home some books and things inside of them that are so treasuring. He handwrote notes and favorite reads I will forever keep.
You are so missed Scott and I wish I could have told you sooner that you are the brother that I always hoped for. I wish you were still here because, man, you would have been one heck of an uncle to our little Gracie.
BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH
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