A friend texted me this morning about the death of a classmate from high school, Philip Pappal. Just last night I was reading posts about plans for our 25th class reunion, and thinking how lucky we’ve been that we haven’t lost more of our class.
We lost George while we were still just teenagers, to a car wreck on Ambrose Road. We lost Donnie, our sweet and larger than life Donnie, “the mighty Zigwa!” to meningitis when we were barely out of college.
Now is the age, I’ve been told, when we begin to lose loved ones. I always thought that losing my father at a young age conditioned me to understand death better, but the truth is, nobody understands death until death arrives.
Those of us left behind each have to find our own meaning, hope or connection.
I went to Philip’s facebook page, unable to believe that this guy who would message me when he thought of something interesting I might want to write, could really be gone so suddenly. I thought about how lousy I am with my response time: to emails, to facebook messages, to texts. When did life become so busy that the last twenty-five years went by so fast that I still see Philip as a teenager when I think of him?
Among the many messages of Rest in Peace and goodbyes to Philip, his last post stood out. Despite his own pain and suffering from years of Diabetes and heart problems, he was issuing a call for prayers for someone other than himself.
The other thing sitting quietly on his page was his last use of Spotify. He had last listened to “Wrong Way” by Sublime. I wanted to share that last listen here, but also to share our mutual music love: Johnny Cash.
It’s the only way I know how to say goodbye. Rest in Peace, Philip.
Readers, don’t reach out to me. If you want to lift up your love, lift it up for Philip’s family, and for others in pain and Diabetes complications.