Daily Archives: June 22, 2013

An emergency trip to Rhode Island


Saturday, 13-Apr-13


The first time I heard my friend Mike cry was when he called me at 18:15 on a Saturday, while I was doing some grocery shopping. He called me, and all he could say was,

“I need you to come over… can you drive me down to Rhode Island?”

When I got to his apartment, he was on the floor, random stuff strewn out around him, and our friend Sarah was sitting next to him.

He was crying.

Sobbing, really.

His mom had just died. Complications from the Flu, combined with a long fight against Cancer that had been going on for the better part of 15 years. Mike had heard about it from a police officer who had been called to check in on her, since no one had seen her in a few days. That was the first Mike had heard of it… a call from a police officer.

Almost as soon as I walked in the door, his phone rang. I answered, politely told the officer on the other end to call someone else, and went back to talking with Mike…

  • Sarah and I packed a “Week away bag” before heading out, tossing everything including a laundry hamper worth of clothes into the back seat of her car.
  • From there, we drove. Straight-shot down to Rhode Island, stopping once or twice for gas and food… or just to sit down in shock about what had just happened.
  • I’ll never forget the look on Mike’s fathers face when we arrived. I’ve never seen a man so hurt, so in pain for someone else. Mike was already in a bad way… I can’t imagine seeing your son in so much pain. And after seeing Mark (Mike’s father), I don’t think I want to imagine it.
  • We go inside, crack open a few beers, and talk… sometimes about what just happened, and sometimes just about anything else.
  • We head outside after a bit to sit around the fire that Mike’s brother had made, and just spend the rest of the night watching the flames and talking about life.
  • After a good few hours we let the fire die out, and head back inside. I crash in a spare bed in Mike’s old room, and him and I talk late into the night, before finally giving up and falling asleep.


Sunday, 14-Apr-13

  • The morning started slow… Mike and I chatted a bit, we had some coffee, and Mark and Mike took some time to discuss the logistics of a loved ones death. Not a pleasant conversation to have, but unfortunately completely necessary when the end is so sudden.
  • I spend some time catching up with Mike’s family, since we hadn’t seen each other in a while.
  • We head out into town for a bite of lunch and end up at an extremely good, extremely typical, cape cod restaurant.
    • A conversation with the server;
      Ben, to Mark – “I can’t decide between the cheeseburger, or the Reuben…”
      Server, just arriving – “By the way, one of our specials today is a combination plate, a cheeseburger / reuben combo”
      Ben – “Done.”
  • After eating, Mike and family head back to their house to finish dealing with logistics, and Sarah and I head back toward the highway to Boston.