My friend Charley died on Sunday. He was 34 years old. He leaves behind a beautiful wife and a 6 year old son.
From what I know, which isn’t much, Charley died of complications from multiple sclerosis, and it was somewhat sudden. Although I hadn’t seen them in probably over two years, Charley and Christian worked together until just recently. Christian had just met him for lunch 3 weeks ago. He said he looked great, like he was doing much better.
I found out on Facebook. Skimming status updates, I saw something peculiar. I clicked over to Charley’s page and saw nothing but memos of “I love you,” and “Rest in peace.”
My heart stopped. How could this be?
Getting alerted that someone you know has died suddenly is a shock to the system. I knew this person. We shared beers, good times, and kids’ birthday parties. And now he’s gone.
I can’t make sense of this situation. I can’t make sense of my feelings.
Do I feel sad that I never got to say goodbye to him?
Regret that our friendship as couples had faded, like so many do?
Unsure of how to be there for his wife and child?
Intense fear that any one of our loved ones could be taken from us at any moment?
As I lay in bed last night, burrowing my face in my husband’s chest and taking in his warmth, his scent, his embrace, I couldn’t help but think of my friend Andrea.
Her husband gone.
Her bed empty.
Still having to get up and continue life for her son, maintain some sort of normalcy.
How much her heart must ache for her best friend, husband, and father of her child. A man she’ll never see again on this earth.
The dreading of night time, when all is dark and quiet, and it’s just her and her thoughts.
The intense void she must be feeling having him taken from her so suddenly.
I know the uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach is nothing compared to hers. I know the ache in my heart pales in comparison to the pain she must be feeling.
How do you leave your loved one’s bedside, knowing you will never get to see them, speak to them, hold them again?
How do you return home to an empty house, an empty bed? Their things still strewn about the rooms they once walked?
How do you go on?
Charley was a son, a brother, and a friend. He was insanely witty, the kind of person who made intelligent jokes that went way over my head. He was a beloved husband and an amazing father.
If you have a prayer to spare, please send it up in honor of Charley, his wife Andrea and their son Connor. Donations to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society are appreciated, in memory of Charles Evans.
Rest in peace, Charley. Thanks for the memories. You will be missed by many.