Paul F. Mullin
February 3, 1964 – January 20, 2008

My stomach hurts… my heart aches… my tears fall. My introduction to death in my own generation, within my circle of friends, is painful and uncomfortable. I received the news too late to say goodbye; his body is already ashes and the memorial service concluded. Maybe his family had no idea that his list of friends and loved ones extended far beyond the city limits.

My brain can’t seem to grasp the facts. Until I saw the obituary, I thought it was a cruel joke. I didn’t want to post about it, because I thought it would be a terrible thing to spread that sort of lie about a person – that they had died, when in fact, they did not.

But I guess he really did.

My friend is gone.

My inbox will never see his name again. His blog pages remain silent and still, forever stuck on the last pages he wrote. I go his sites and just sit… somehow the writings and photos bring me some small comfort, as though I’m sitting in his room and looking at photos in frames on his bureau, or reading through old letters or diaries. I think I understand why survivors don’t want to touch their loved one’s things for awhile.

He said he liked to make people smile, and indeed, he did. I wonder if he really understood the impact he had.

Our online community is hurting. Tears are falling all over the globe for him. We’re a new breed of friends – a combination of co-workers and family – but surviving loved ones don’t always know about us. We don’t receive the phone call. It’s shocking and hurtful to hear the news after everything is over and done with. We console each other with cyber (((hugs))) and emails of condolence. We are denied the closure of a funeral service.

Sudden, tiny bursts of anger come up for me now and then. My fundamental philosophy is that we choose (even if subconsciously) our path every step of the way, from our first breath to our last. And I’m pissed that he left too soon. I wasn’t finished with our spiritual contract. He bailed before the end date on my copy. I’m not ready to let go. I still need him.

What do I do now?

Paul, where are you?

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