It’s been nearly three months now since the passing of Greg, my friend and former roommate of 4 years. This has been difficult to write, but I feel it needs to be written.
I think of him often and about the unfairness of his death. Sometimes I think of his death in anger. Anger at the roll of the dice of life that selected him.
We met as strangers – Me needing a new apartment and him needing a new roommate – but he quickly became my friend, confidant, drinking buddy, Dunkin Donut run partner, life coach and cheerleader, and house brother.
Greg was nurturing, kind, thoughtful, funny, unique, and wonderful. He enjoyed life the way life should be enjoyed.
He was the only guy I knew who would go see a matinee at the movie theater before 11 in the morning on the weekends.
Despite being a non-sports fan, he listened patiently when I returned excitedly home after seeing Jeremy Lin torch the Lakers at Madison Square Garden during the Linsanity craze.
If I wasn’t feeling well he always would check in on me to see if I needed anything.
We experienced Hurricane Irene and Sandy together: Maybe it wasn’t the brightest idea, but we ventured out to the West Side Highway during Sandy to witness for ourselves the water spill into the roads. He would laugh at my obsession with CBS2’s local storm coverage.
He laughed each time he saw me emerge from my bedroom hungover in the morning. He laughed even harder at my sad dating life. I miss that laugh.
One of my favorite exchanges I had with him was as follows. I had just walked into the apartment one afternoon after seeing “The Artist” at the Angelika.
“Where are you coming in from?” he asked.
“Oh, I just saw ‘The Artist!'”
Greg’s eyes got big. He gasped, “You saw Prince?!”
As I write this I like to think he is now somewhere hanging out with Prince.
Living in New York City can be tough. It’s expensive. It’s competitive. It can be lonely. Greg and I both loved it. We loved New York City in a way that was home to us and in a way that our actual homes did not. And Greg helped me enjoy New York City even more than I already did.
We were two ships that I’m thankful did not pass in the night. I’m grateful to have met him. I consider my life fuller and richer because of Greg and I will always be thankful that he allowed me into his life.
The last time I saw Greg was last summer. I had lost my job and as always, he was there. We met for lunch to catch up in the West Village. He had been fighting a quiet heroic battle against the unfair asshole that is cancer for the past couple years.
When I saw him he looked great. Optimistically I thought he had turned a corner. A month later he shared my happiness when I told him I found a new job. And then time fast forwarded and I found myself last winter telling him I’m moving to San Francisco. I wanted to hang out before heading out west. He was excited about this new chapter of my life for me, but he said he wasn’t feeling well enough he said to see people.
Few weeks later I received word he had passed away.
I will always have this guilt that I didn’t do more. That I took too much from the friendship instead of giving. Why were we just texting? Why didn’t I call him? If you’re reading this, I’m angry that you didn’t get a chance to meet him.
After the lunch we last shared, I recorded this short video of him outside the restaurant. I’m thankful I have it. It captures his spirit and essence, and in a way allows him to continue to be of this world and in my life.