I Lost A Friend

The last time I spoke to my friend, the last time we had a deep conversation, we discussed a business venture that we could pursue together at some point in the future. He wanted to be my advisor. He was so energized that he took a picture of the domain name he wanted me to buy – “Get this now or I might get it!”

He spent 20+ years on Wall Street, working in banks and research firms, raised money, M&A, the list goes on.

He was also an engineer by training. I loved this about him. He was smart on paper, but even sharper with his communications.

I have no idea why he took a liking to me. I have no idea why he was so interested in my work, my career, from the start. He thought my work was brilliant. I thought he was brilliant!

In the last few years he worked on the side of institutional money and public markets. He offered me advice on what it took to manage a family and work, a mortgage, big decisions. I am a new father, I recently lost my father, and he was exactly what I needed.

Losing him has hit me again. The 1-2 combination delivered by the gods, straight to my stomach.

Let me write without editing, without following any university writing construct. What follows is me, trying to put my energy into words at this very moment so I can revisit an unexplainable feeling that many people have felt in similar moments:

I think back to how my friend, a mentor as well, and I met in the first place. The path, the endless list of things happening all at once, not just for me, but you, everyone, the person you pass in your car or on a walk, the different timelines we were all on at every moment, events totally disconnected, yet always a chance that, suddenly they could be connected. A spontaneous moment. How did we meet? Why did he like my work? And now why is he gone also?

I’ve never truly understood the term sonder. Now I do. It’s become increasingly impossible to ignore. A mystical word for much of my life, these present moments have forced me to think in ways I had not yet explored.

All around us people, things, life, are moving at a size and scale no person or machine could ever comprehend. The objects we pass by, heck the animals, the pigeons or squirrels, everything, are all experiencing endless combinations of randomness, chance encounters and decisions, doors opening and closing, opportunities presenting themselves and disappearing. The complexity of this is immeasurable, both because it is so massive when zoomed out, everything combined into one, but at the same time, it’s barely noticeable when zoomed in, focused only on you, a decimal of everything, impossible to understand where it fits in the sum of all parts.

I think there’s so much more to explore in this sense, the walk I went on today, the trees, their roots, my hands, the energy contained in a lighting bolt I saw during a rainstorm that appears for less than a second, it’s all endlessly moving. There’s no answer or theory of everything or equation that could possibly hold all of these unexplainable events.

Effortlessly, Weightlessly, Sailing, Sparking, Going.

The more I think about it all, the more I sense something. I can’t quite grasp it – the impact my friend had on me and what he meant to me. The energy, wisdom, and support he brought to my life. I’m so fortunate to have met him. I still don’t understand how or why, but it happened, and now this.

The last time my friend and I spoke in detail:

My friend called me not long ago to say that he was checking in to the hospital. He would be out soon, he told me.

His energy, quick wits and passion were unmatched. A phone call with him was truly a moment whereby the energy could be felt through the phone.

Imagine speaking with such energy that the sound waves themselves are sparking, waves oscillating faster than the air that tries to compress it, atoms can barely exist in such energy. Few people possess the spoken word like this.

The ear piece on my phone would be burning after our conversations.

A spark.

I don’t know yet why he passed away. I only just learned about it. I remember when he called me from the hospital for a second time and it sounded like things were not going as well. But he thought of me. I wish I had talked to him longer. All I wanted was for him to rest and recharge.

Some final thoughts:

I still think I’m rather young, but I’ve now experienced death in forms I did not understand when I was even younger than I am today. I never truly understood. The thing is, I never thought it could happen.

The beauty of being a teenager or recently graduated is that ignorance is truly bliss. Your focus is narrow. A comedian I like once said “What’s the opposite of ignorance is bliss? That’s what I suffer from.” I appreciate this line now more than ever.

I also would add that my compassion has changed drastically. Literally, overnight, I cannot fathom all the people and things who have lost in worse situations.

I would not call this post maturity. Perhaps it’s grieving. I would add it’s also an awareness of something unexplainable. You can probably sense that I am searching for that thing in this post. I think I am close. Then again, that would be the perfect trick behind all “this” – no one is ever close.

What next?

What I can say is there’s something bigger at work, there’s more to it all, life is not something that ends, it continues in another form we’ve yet to understand, and I’ve never felt more confident about that.

The friend who spent hours talking to me over hundreds of miles of phone connectivity is gone. But his spark remains. I can feel it in this post.

I also know, without a doubt, my friend would want me to, at some point, create what we discussed. And I think that’s what I’ll do when the time is right.

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