Rog and I were having drinks at a tiny karaoke bar with a group of friends. He and I sat there and talked for a while about how Gary’s death affected us. As it turned out, it impacted him virtually the same way it did with me.
Rog thought the ensuing changes in his life’s perspective made him happier than he was a year ago. He asked if it was the same for me. I replied no.
Life was simpler on June 2002, and easier. Ignorance, after all, is bliss. Now, the ignorance is all but gone and I’m grateful for that. But, as I wrote a month ago, the road to becoming a better human being is a bitch, and Lord knows if it ends up kicking my weak ass.
Yesterday I walked over to the mailbox after getting home from work and found a thick manila envelope inside. It was from Gary’s parents. A book, with a letter attached.
The letter basically said that the sole comforting thought for Gary’s parents was that he “found God” in the weeks before he passed away. Because although his mom was deeply religious, Gary was agnostic for most of his life until the last moment. The letter went on to say that it was their wish that Gary’s friends didn’t wait ‘til the last moment to find God, which is why they sent every single one of us a copy of a book. It was titled “What’s So Amazing About Grace?”
Happiness is fleeting. The euphoria of falling in love, finding your dream job, buying a nice pair of shoes … it fades quickly, like the cheap gum they give you after dinner at a Korean restaurant. But you can’t say the same about unhappiness. The pain tends to stick around for a very long time.
I know for Gary’s parents the sorrow will be there for the rest of their lives. They sent me that book, hoping it would somehow help spark a change in my life. Because finding hope in his friends' salvations is one way to numb the sadness. Because making the death of their only child less meaningless helps render the pain more bearable.
I scanned the back of the book and found out it was about unconditional love. Honestly speaking, I don’t know if I’ll ever read more than that. But I do plan to let them know that their son changed my life for the better. I'm just not going to tell them it happened before they even mailed the book.