A person really close to me died in November 2012. His name was Jim and he was the closest thing I had to a dad.
We met in 2001 at an internet cafe; I was a 15yo nerd going there for cheap and late night internet access and he went there for conducting business and training people to fight. I eventually started joining in on the fighting lessons. The internet cafe burned down not too long after that so Jim and I started going to a boxing gym every Sunday for years.
The usual pattern – meet around 7am on a Sunday at a cafe he ran. I worked as a prep cook and got the place up for the week while he did adult things like counting money. After that we’d walk for 30 minutes to the gym and beat the shit out of each other. He taught me to box and fight in a Greco Roman style we nicknamed “hug and slug” due to the close nature of the style.
He is the reason I love classical music, hold defense of others as a core value, and developed my self of self worth and respect. He taught me how to drive a car. He was constantly telling me Army Ranger stories from his time in the service, and was a large influence in why I decided to choose the Army after high school.
I left for the Army in mid-2003 and stayed in contact with him, visiting him when I was home every year or so. I eventually got out of the active service in 2010 and settled in California. Jim, with his now-family, was up in Seattle and finally made the move to Southern California in 2010ish. We made time to hang out once a quarter or so, but nothing along the lines of the previous frequency; he had a family and I was busy was school.
I was in Georgia when I got the news that he fell ill. He was boogie-boarding in San Diego and must have got some contaminated water up his sinuses, because he was in the hospital within 2 days in critical condition.
I spoke with him the day before he went to the hospital and he was complaining about sinus pain. I got a call the next day from his wife, asking me if I wanted to say any last words to him because he was in a coma and doctors were not hopeful he would recover. I don’t remember my exact words, and I got to speak to him for about 2 minutes when his wife asked me if I was done because I was talking quietly. I remember feeling numb the rest of the day. I was not able to attend his funeral because he was not legal family.
The one thing that sticks out to me the most about his death in relation to my emotion is the jim_moolack of emotion I feel I express compared to what I’ve seen other people express in similar situations. I remember briefly crying about his death but I think I was trying to cry about it because I thought I was supposed to; I remember thinking how strange it was that I was not more upset (to say the least).
The only physical things I really have left of him are this video I made in 2004ish, this comment he left on one of my math posts, a Citizen watch he gifted me before I left for the service, and a Seahawks cap.
I don’t think I ever really sat down and thought about all the ways he affected my life. I really miss him a lot.