This is my buddy Greg. Today would have been his 50th birthday. He was killed in a car accident when he was 22.
Greg and I became friends when we were 13 and in Grade 8. We became part of a group of seven guys who were absolute best of friends in our teen years. Our parents called us the Dead End Gang. The other five guys and I remain very close to this day. We might not always communicate often enough or get together often enough, but when we do, it's like we had left off yesterday. We know that the other guys are always there for us, at least in spirit.
It's the same thing with Greg, even though he's been dead longer than he was alive. I'm not sure I believe in an afterlife and communication between this life and that one, but Greg has provided evidence that could be used to convince me. For months after his death, I would wake up at night, at precisely the time we were told he had died on the highway between Timmins and Iroquois Falls. Greg frequently shows up in my dreams, acknowledging that he's dead, but popping in anyways. And this morning, at precisely 4:44, something startled me awake. Four is the hockey sweater number that Greg always wore.
I was a young newspaper reporter when Greg died. My column that week was a tribute to Greg and our friendship. I wrote that friends might die, but true friendship like ours never does. I believe that to this day. I also miss Greg to this day.
Happy Birthday, Buddy. I'm always here for you, and know that you're here for me, if only in spirit.