The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

12 Feb

Dear Kleinsaucer (aka Klein, Saucer, Kleinsauce, Sauce Man, Kleinsasser, etc.)

How is it up there man? I miss the hell outta you. A couple weeks ago your dad (who is the absolute MAN, by the way) wrote a post on this blog in the form of a letter to you. I thought that was a great idea, and decided to give my own rendition. So here are my thoughts, 3 months after your untimely passing, in no particular order. I know you’ll appreciate them.

I want you to know that I don’t blame you for doing what you did. You were sick, and I truly believe that it wasn’t the Kleinsaucer I know and love that made the decision. You know you had a support system, amazing family and absolutely adoring friends, but I take a small amount of solace in knowing that you went out the way you wanted to go out, on your terms. You’re a man of conviction, Klein, and when you want to do something you really do it, and never want to show weakness. Tragically in this situation, that trait worked very VERY much against you.

I like to think of myself as a generally positive person. That’s why whenever something big happens to me, I try to have something good come out of it. And while none of this would ever compare to having you back, I’m sure in some way you appreciate SOMETHING positive coming out of your decision. So here they are:

Good Things:

  1. The amazing relationship I’ve formed with your Dad. I knew this to a degree before from our interactions during your life, but your Dad is just one of the coolest, most fun and interesting people I met. No wonder you’ve got such an amazing sense of humor, keen intellect, intelligent love of sports, generous nature and laid back demeanor. We watch the Greeley Basketball games together now, and it’s something I truly enjoy. It makes me feel closer to you, when I hang out with him, and I’m sure it’s gotta be the same for him. You guys look just so much alike, have the same mannerisms, voices, you’re so similar. Like I mentioned during your Memorial Luncheon, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. (Classic colloquialism)
  2. I’ve become a lot closer with some of your closest friends. In particular, I have become really good friends again with Brooke and Julie, who are some awesome totally fun girls – no wonder you stayed in touch with them! Thank you for reintroducing me to them, I know now that I’ll be friends with them for life. I’ve also become good buddies with your best friend from school, Andres. He’s a great guy and I can see why you guys tore it up together and were partners in crime at Middlebury. The same goes for Thao who has been really fun to hang out with the few times I’ve gotten the opportunity to. And of course I knew Lonnie and Jack during your life, but your loss brought us together and gave us shoulders to cry on, and they’ve been able to provide copious hilarious stories to laugh about, stories like the ones posted on this page. And people like RDub and Vank, who I’ve always been tight with, I’m even tighter with now. I’ve noticed that nothing brings people closer together than the loss of a mutual friend. It sucks endlessly that something this drastic needed to happen for this to occur, but like I said, small positives are something that have helped me cope with this whole ordeal.
  3. I appreciate my friends more. I appreciate strangers more. I appreciate life more. I see the world in a new way now. I am no longer young and naïve, but a realist, battle-tested. I know now better than ever that life is precious. It’s hard for people our age to think about their own mortality (even for me, and I work with Life Insurance). I am lucky enough that I went 23 and a half years of my life without the loss of someone very close to me. After this happened, I learned to really value all the great people that I have in my life. I am thankful for the simple fact that all these great friends and family are on this earth, and I can talk to them, hang out with them, learn from them, things I can no longer physically do with you (though your death has clearly taught me a great deal). I thought I appreciated life before, but your loss made me even more thankful just to be here and among the people I love.
  4. I now know how to cope with death. I know that next time I lose someone close to me, it will be easier. And I can help friends mourn losses of their loved ones. I feel more mature. I feel more grounded and more worldly.
  5. I’ve learned more about you. Sharing stories like the ones on this site have helped me learn more about areas of your life that I didn’t know, like your life in Middlebury and your family life at home, stories that may not have come up normally.
  6. Now, you are always with me. Whenever something funny or interesting happens in my day that makes me think, “Wow, I wish Klein was here to see this,” now you actually ARE there watching from above. I find it comforting. Now I can speak to you in my mind and know that you are listening.

So even though as you can see, I’ve taken some positives from your death, you know I’d give it all back in a heartbeat to have you back. That goes without saying, but I thought I’d mention it again anyway.

Now that it’s been 3 months, you’re still on my mind non-stop. I think about you every day. I see you when I close my eyes. When I’m at Club Fit I still look for you to pop your head in and flash your bright loveable smile. Sometimes I think I see you, then double take, and realize they only look like you. You pop into my head at the most random (rando) times.

After about a one month hiatus, me, BH and Reisner started playing racquetball again. It was definitely very hard for me to get back into that small, very personal room, to play the game we loved to play together, but I’m back and it feels great. Makes me feel closer to you. Because I know you’re there with us spectating. Boy do I miss that teardrop shot of yours. It’s almost comedic. I think I may try and incorporate it into my repertoire. I’m also looking forward to taking on your Dad, who played against Jack and Lonnie a couple weeks ago.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that I tend not to want to talk to people about you that weren’t close to you. I feel like it’s hard for other people to relate to what I’m going through if they weren’t close with you. I tend to shy away from talking about it when such people bring you up – I know they mean well, it’s just some complex I have in my head I guess.

I speak about you most frequently with your dad and with Brooke and Julie. I think all of us find it therapeutic to talk about you, share classic stories, cheer each other up when we’re feeling particularly down about you. I’ve definitely noticed that you aren’t brought up in casual conversation as much any more. It’s almost as if talking about you is “off limits.” Well I don’t think this should be. While at times I feel like bringing you up can create a heavy and uncomfortable mood, I think it’s important to keep talking about you and revel in your memory. And sharing some of your epic stories actually can lighten the mood and get everyone cracking up in laughter. You had the best laugh, man. So jovial, your laugh would make me laugh, just because it was fun to laugh with you. I don’t know if I know anyone who laughed more than you, to be honest.

Another idea that’s been floating around in my head is that sometimes I think of you almost like a figment of my imagination. This is really hard to describe, but I feel what it is, is that I’ve spent so much time and effort trying to train my mind to the fact that I’m never going to see you or speak to you again, it’s almost hard for me to bring myself back to a time when you were alive. It’s almost like that whole period of time was a dream and now we are in some bitter, unfortunate reality where you are never going to come back. I’m not sure if I explained that well, but I’ve spoken to Brooke about it and she agrees.

So those are my thoughts for now. I’ll probably write you another letter in the future, I just wanted to get this all down now. It’s been helpful for me. I miss the shit out of you, but now I carry you with me everywhere. I guess it’s a trade off. You are the fucking man, Klein! We’ll be in touch soon.

Your friend,

AB (Tank, Tankford Lewis, Nixon, Trotter, etc.)

P.S. I miss our colloquialisms. Every time I hear one I think of you. Recent ones that have popped up in my life and made me think of you are “What goes around comes around” and  “I guess that’s how the cookie crumbles.”

P.P.S. Your Dad has been texting me about how Brett just went off and scored 19 points for Greeley. Nice work Kleinsaucer.

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2 Responses to “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree”

  1. julieparise February 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    AB,

    This is such a beautiful and well written note. You have such a way with words.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your touching thoughts. I also feel Jeff with me at all times, which is something that makes me feel so fortunate. I’d give anything to have Jeff back, but I truly feel so blessed to have such an amazing and fun guardian angel looking out for me.

    I was recently talking with Thao, and she mentioned some specific moments where she’s felt Jeff with her over the past 3 months. I had one of those moments yesterday.

    During the afternoon, I was walking through the city with some of my friends that came into town for my birthday. As we walked, we were all talking about how unseasonably warm it was outside. My friend Christine looked up and remarked about how incredibly blue the sky looked. I looked up, and it really was SO blue and the sun was shining – it felt more like May than February. I instantly said a quick prayer to thank Jeff for such an awesome birthday gift. He was obviously with us later that night also — when we were doing honorary Klein tequila shots at the bar 🙂

  2. rktrain February 21, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    Julie and AB- It is so comforting to know that you feel Jeff’s presence, as I do, and as I wrote about in my last post. You are two of his dearest friends, and your continued beautiful expressions of your feelings about Jeff bolster our entire family.

    Rich

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