Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Tribute to Bandit

Well you told me I should write more, but frankly, I was tied up for the last few months trying to do something much more important and that was to help you Bandito, someone who went through life under-appreciated by those that were near to you (Your Mother being an exception and restricted by her own health issues).

And I’m not really worried about who reads this since most people don’t read much anymore and I only write about what is important to me and you are most definitely in that category, little one. I will direct the post to a few that might like to read it though and you know who those are. I am really long-winded about things that are important to me so that will stop most everyone from reading to the end.

I met you online just 5 months ago (yes it was only five months) and I will most definitely remember our first phone conversation in fondness, not the content, because I truly did not understand a single word you said. Your drawl on that day was like a 12 on a scale of 1 to 10 for me!! But I am thankful we persevered and worked it out (and my own drawl was getting to about a 7 or 8 I think). And finding out later that you gave me your number by mistake (since you thought I was someone else in the game we played together online) was just as it should be.

And even funnier was your laughter (in like the 3rd call) when I admitted that I thought “What the heck am I getting myself into”. You have a laugh like no other I have ever heard and it was wonderful to hear you do that even though it was that pleasant painful type. I cannot explain the laugh. You can’t really put that combination into words and do it justice.

And thus began a series of conversations where you shared your life experiences with me in your most honest and direct fashion, a quality that I truly respected in you and I did my best to return that honesty in all our conversations, be they on the phone or in the various chat windows we used online. Sometimes they did need translation or clarification since we really did speak somewhat different languages even though they both are called English.

And I was just so amazed at how someone could go through so many hardships in life and still bring joy to the room, always trying to help others and looking for the positive in everything. I made a commitment to try to make you happy and it was working for a time. I sensed the joy when you would try to embarrass me in the game by calling me Stuffy Wuffy in front of other game friends. It did embarrass me to a point but it made me smile since it was sort of a badge of honour you were bestowing on me and no other, like all the times you called me friend in such a meaningful manner.

I joked about how that beep in Facebook you get when someone pops up in chat there would haunt me in my grave, but the truth it was something I looked forward to hearing. We made each other’s day better and it was doing so very well. We both were running out of tail feathers with all the laughter we provided for each other (lmtfo = laugh my tail feathers off) which was your unique way of showing your joy.

And then something changed. You got more physical pain than normal and with it came more emotional pain as well. All those medications you had prescribed to you by your doctors weren’t working as they should and others around you were making it worse. It started with a battle with a former friend of yours and I experienced what you went through in a panic attack and I helped you through it as best I could.

And then came your birthday, US Thanksgiving and Christmas. All did not provide what you wanted with the exception of what I sent you as a gift for your birthday. Thankfully you called me from your Mom’s house then because you disappeared from our contacts for several days and had me really worried. It pleased me to hear you telling your Mother that I am talking to my Canook friend, not my sister, do you think I would be this happy talking to her? But is also saddened me that your family did not show appreciation and your son and Mother didn’t understand the gifts I sent until you explained the meaning behind them. They were just symbols of the person you are and who you wanted to become. I took pride in the fact that they were digital creations done by me and transformed into photographic art of sorts, just for you. And you were so happy in that time on Thanksgiving; the little girl excitement was in your voice again.

And then you returned back to the house where you resided and it changed when you got the phone call from your other son who was now 17 and you had not seen since he was 6. Losing that custody battle was so unfair for you and did irreparable damage. And when you asked him to come to his Grandmother’s and Grandfather’s house for Christmas to see them and see his brother again, he was non-committal and you became suspicious that his father (your ex) was up to something as he was so many times with you before.

And so you did not go to your Mother’s house for Christmas and were by yourself and we talked very little through that and New Years and it affected me as well. I was not my usual supportive self with you and was disappointed that I could do nothing to really help. The conversations got more one-sided and I was listening to all the things that were hurting you now and it was draining me and I did not know what to do to make it better so the conversations were not as good as they were before.

And then they stopped. I thought it was like Thanksgiving and you would appear when you were ready. I checked your posts for activity and then I saw a big red rose and a post saying that you had passed away and you were no longer with us. I was crushed. I had failed you. I had to piece together what happened by reading the obituary and all the posts that people made sharing their sadness for your loss. I know I will never truly know what was going through your mind that night but I know your heart was broken and your depression took you down your final road.

I can take some comfort in knowing you believed that you went to a place where you would want for nothing and never feel pain again because you endured more than any one person should ever had in one lifetime. If you measure beauty on more than just outward appearance (and the older photographs of you show you were that for sure) you will go down as the most beautiful woman I have had the pleasure of knowing in my lifetime. And I hope that the Internet connection in heaven is a good one and not like the one at your Mom’s house and you get to read this.

I know I was not there for you in your final hours on Earth as I should have been for I too was suffering some from the post-holiday crappers and I will be forever sad that I could not do something to help you. It was out of my power now. I ran out of band aids to fix all the wounds you had.

And so on the day of your funeral I wore out my computer and piano playing Go Rest High on That Mountain which you shared with me months ago as your wish to have it played at your funeral. I do hope the people who were at your actual funeral got the message as to why you were no longer with us. People need to be loved and need to know that they are appreciated for who they are and what they did for you.

I will change the words that Vince Gill wrote (so very well) as I sing them to you.

I know your life on earth was troubled
Only you could know the pain
You weren’t afraid to face the devil
You were no stranger to the pain

Go Rest High on that Mountain
Girl your work on earth is done
Go to Heaven a shoutin’
Love for the father and the son

And every January 6th (the day you left us), I will continue to do that on what I will now call “Appreciation Day” to honour your memory. The many heartfelt condolences that I got to read on your Facebook page and in the game, are all testaments to the impact you had on others. You were appreciated more from afar than you were from near and that is just so wrong.

I would urge anyone reading this to maybe take that day and do something that you think is appropriate and show someone that you truly appreciate who they are and what they do for you.

Go rest high on that mountain, girl. I will miss you always. My biggest regret is never to have met you in person or to touch or hug you. But it was all worth it.

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