I won’t share his entire name, but he came to mind tonight. His name is Dean. I will never ever forget the last words he said to me. We were in his apartment, hanging out in Marshall, Minnesota. I can’t tell you the date or year, but I can tell you the last words he ever said to me.
I’ll see ya when I see ya! Be good, Chip!
My nickname in my first few years at college was Chip. I spent the summer before as an assistant counselor with a lifelong friend named Dale, so for the summer we were Chip And Dale. Turns out some other counselors attended the same college and the name stuck! To this day I still have a few friends who only know me as Chip. Beware what you do and say in life, it may stick with you!!
Speaking of words that stick with you. My partner in crime, Dean. His last words stick with me, I’ll see ya when I see ya! Be good, Chip!
To this day, I firmly believe with every fiber of my eternal soul he knew he was going to die that night. He was a well-loved, and deeply respected man in our college town. He had more college degrees than I could ever even imagine! Why? He was born with muscular dystrophy. And that was what ended his life at 36 years old. Five years younger than I am now.
And he taught me so much! Go for your dreams! Yeah, life is gonna punch you down every once in a while. There’s gonna be pain, loss, suffering, hurt, broken hearts. But ya get back up and move forward! You love with all you have and you move forward further than you ever imagine you can! I have learned those lessons from so many, but Dean. With him it stuck.
The day of his funeral I was doing sound for a local band out of Marshall called Goodfire. I am still friends with one of the members. And we still listen to This song and we affectionately call it Dean’s Song. The band played it at a gig we did the night of his funeral. The show must go on, right? Work doesn’t end just because there is a death that is close to us. We finish the day, and then we bury and mourn the loss. That is how Dean would want it.
I will also never forget the day I got the call. I actually made a call, to his home. I wanted to check on him. His personal care attendant answered and said he died the night before. I was so devastated I nearly dropped the phone. He knew! He knew and he was trying to tell me!!
So, the only logical thing I could do was call my rock. The man who has dropped whatever needed to be dropped to help me out time and again- My Dad. I called him at work and said through sobs of tears, ‘My friend is gone! I was just hanging out with him last night and now he is dead!!’ My dad’s only response in a voice I can only imagine would be the same response as Jesus was, ‘When is the funeral?’ He never knew Dean, but he knew through my tears he was important to me. I will never forget those days!
And all it took was This Song On Facebook to bring this entire story flooding back to the forefront of my mind! It’s been 18 or so years and it is all like it happened a year ago. I will never forget my friend, Dean. The man with a Masters Degree in so many areas of life, but the most important one was being my friend.