I Lost My Best Friend Last Night And It FUCKING Sucks

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I am not sure where to begin, other than knowing I need to write down all of the random thoughts flying through my head at lightning speed. I am hoping that writing this down and sharing will help me through the process.

First the sad part: Last night I lost my best friend of 20 years. He was found dead at age 42 in his Brooklyn apartment by his roommate. As I write this, I am still wrapping my head around this. It still doesn’t seem real. How could a seemingly healthy and still young (ish) man just drop dead? I don’t know….

How I came to know Stefan is an odd tale in and of itself. On a Friday in January of 1994, I got a random phone call from a nice sounding man who told me of this woman. I didn’t know who she was, but she knew me and gave him my phone number. The conversation, awkward at first, turned into plans for lunch the next day.

So, on the eve of his 22nd birthday, we met for lunch, which turned into about eight hours of hanging out. A new friendship was born. Within a few short weeks he pushed my then current best friend into second place and has remained my closest and bestest friend ever since. He was my BFF before there was “BFF”.

Our friendship may have started in Seattle, but it didn’t stay there. He moved to San Francisco, then back to Seattle. In 1999, Stefan and I drove a truck with our stuff (mostly mine) from Seattle to Chicago where we each began anew. Then in the January following 9/11, we came to New York on a vacation. It was my first trip (about damned time), but it was home turf for him. By the end of the trip, I could see it in his eyes that he was destined to come back to where he had started. He arrived in New York one year later. I stayed back in Chicago, but then followed suit and arrived in NYC four years later.

We were there for each other in so many ways over the years, and lived together as roommates on a few occasions, some as short as a few weeks, and others as long as a year when we room-mated to save for and then move to Chicago. When I arrived in New York, he let me stay with him for a few months in his 225 square foot Brooklyn Heights apartment, an apartment he loved so very much.

In those years we did numerous small road trips to such places as Vancouver BC, Portland OR, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Madison, Philadelphia, and countless other small towns along the way but it was that drive from Seattle to Chicago I will remember most.

I taught him how to feel comfortable in a gay bar, and how to meet people, only for him to become much more adept at it than I. I taught him how to make a dirty martini, he never got it right, but always was willing to try. We helped each other move from small apartment to small apartment until we were old enough to hire others to move our crap for us.

My final text with him on my birthday, Saturday, July 26th. So thankful we acknowledged how we felt.

My final text with him on my birthday, Saturday, July 26th. So thankful we acknowledged how we felt.

Stefan and I were our own family, as we both spent so much our lives living away from our families of origin, so there were many holidays spent together. As an only child he became the younger brother I never had. He lost his father when he was a teen, and his mother in 2004. So, whenever my parents would visit, he surreptitiously adopted them as his own. He was always excited to take them out and show them New York.

Stefan was my confidant, as I was his. We both called each other out on each others bullshit over the years, and spent countless hours hanging out together mulling over the minutia of our lives.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel when the news hit his Facebook page, and I was somewhat reluctant to say anything until it was too late, and the word got out. The outpouring on his Facebook has been nothing short of astonishing, yet completely àpropos for so many more knew and loved him than he ever would have believed. As much as I tend to want to loathe Facebook, I am grateful for its ability to connect us all together. It gave me the chance to find out just how much he was loved.

We never figured out who that woman was that connected us, but I can never thank her enough for giving me 20 years of having Stefan in my life.

Stefan, if you can see this…. Love U Babe! Don’t know how I will survive without you. 🙁

 

1 Comment
  • J Vanessa de St-Blanquat
    July 30, 2014

    Dev – This is beautiful! True love is when you see the warts and somehow those become beautiful also. A huge hug and I’m glad Yoav is there with you.