While I put a lot of stuff on my blog, I also am pretty secretive. I talk about a lot of fun stuff, but really, I keep my personal details to a minimum.
Sometimes, though, it feels good to write something down, even if I don't feel like sharing it with the world.
So I've decided to write about Jamie. Jamie was a rockstar of the highest order. Jamie could drink you under the table without a second thought, but he would never hold it against you.
I first met Jamie when he played keyboards in the Lust. They stayed with us the weekend that they came into town. I was blown away by his charisma, his friendliness, his lack of attitude and his infectious smile.
During the weekend they stayed with us, we talked about a ton of stuff. Jamie was eloquent and intelligent, and not at all wrapped up in being a rock star. On the first night he stayed with us, we walked through my yard in the dark, drinking beer and talking about everything from religion, to history, to food and the state of my struggling (now failed) attempts at a vegetable and herb garden.
We pulled out a whiskey bottle and passed it back and forth, drinking and laughing.
I slept on the lawn that night.
Jamie didn't get riled up about anything. When The Lust played at the Old Miami that weekend, the soundman at the bar was abysmal, yet he was unphased no matter how angry his bandmates were. And when his bandmates stood on the curb, heatedly arguing about how to load their gear, he stood off to the side with Nicole and I, smirking with that twinkle in his eye.
For as enamored as I sound of Jamie, it doesn't touch the connection that he and Nicole made. That weekend in our little house, the two of them sat at the kitchen table for hours, well past the time the sun came up that morning, talking about a wider and deeper range of topics than you could imagine. They forged a friendship that night.
When the Lust left, Jamie told us to come visit him at the Double Door whenever we were in Chicago and we would never pay for drinks. He was right, and it was detrimental to me on more than one occasion, but as always, he and Nicole would sit and chat well past close. She loved that kid.
Friday night, Jamie took his own life. We found out Saturday afternoon on our way to a party. Nicole broke down in tears on the street. She didn't want to go to the party crying, but I dragged her in, feeling it was better that we were among friends at the moment than in the alley behind the house. We tucked away for a bit, and then proceeded to try and enjoy the night.
It wasn't until we got home that night that I really broke down, full of sadness, frustration and anger about it all. For a few minutes, I think I grieved deeper than I ever have, until I went to bed out of exhaustion more than anything else.
It's strangely appropriate that it started raining here on Saturday, and hasn't stopped yet.
The hardest thing to deal with is the anger. When Maria passed away earlier this year, I was able to be angry at the cancer that took her away from us, her husband and her daughter. With this, I can only be angry with Jamie. I miss him so much, but I'm angry with him, too.
He was an amazingly special person, one that I feel fortunate to have considered a friend despite the fact that we only spent a limited amount of times together. I'm sure we're not alone in this regard; I'm sure he touched a lot of people that way.
I can only hope that he's found peace, and escaped what he was running from. He will always be missed, and fondly remembered.
(Edit - I removed Jamie's last name as this post was generating a lot of traffic, and I don't want to cause pain to anyone; if you know me and you know Jamie, you know where to find it, but I know Jamie had eight bazillion friends I didn't know, and the rambling of someone they don't know probably may not be the most cathartic for them.)
I've been where you guys are and I feel you, I feel it all over again, but that doesn't help you, does it?
I'm glad you posted this beautiful tribute to Jamie and to connection and to love and to being human.
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