The Death of a Friend

No, it's not Monday and I'm interviewing myself. Yesterday I found out that an old friend of mine had died and I wanted to honor our friendship and write a bit about him.

DW: Who was the person that died?
PS: An old friend from San Francisco, Bryan John Tesar. Bryan lived in the same neighborhood that I did and he frequented the bar I worked at. He was a pretty good guy who loved music and conversing over a cold brew.

Bryan is on the right. He went skydiving with me and on this day we were back to learn how to jump solo. It didn't happen as the sky wouldn't cooperate. About a week later, the man I jumped with the first time died in a tandem jump with a woman on her birthday. Bryan and I decided that our dreams of jumping from planes were over. Too dangerous!

DW: How old were you at the time?
PS: Mid forties. Bryan is the first friend of mine to die.

DW: How old was he?
PS: I'm not sure, but I think he was in his early 60's. He was born in October, I just don't know the exact year.

DW: Was it a sudden death or did you know it was going to happen?
PS: After I left San Francisco in 2001, I sent him holiday cards, but we never really spoke or hung out again as I rarely made it back to California. I think the last time I saw him was in September of 2009. As many people do, we reconnected on Facebook a few years back, but he wasn't very active on the site. I had no idea he was ill. A mutual friend emailed me to let me know he had died.

DW: Were people supportive of your grief or did they shy away from you when you were grieving? PS: It's only been a day, but the people I've told have talked to me about it and offered condolences.

DW: Is there anything you wish you'd done differently with this person?
PS: I wish I had remained in contact with him. He was an interesting fellow and he played a rather important role in my life. Bryan died on February 24, but I found out on the 25th, which is a day I will always think about him. On February 25, 1998, I was at Charlie's (huge dive bar in Bernal Heights that is no longer there) where I was a bartender. I was sitting there with Bryan complaining that I had no one to bring to this event that was happening the next night. In typical Bryan fashion, he said I should simply ask the next person who entered the bar. And in walks Erik, who is now my husband. I served Erik a Full Sail Ale and proceeded to ask him to accompany me to this weird event the next night and the rest is history. It was all because of Bryan. I found it really odd that I found out about his death on this date.

DW: Was he buried or cremated?
PS: That has yet to be decided, but I'm guessing cremation.

DW: Did you learn anything about the grieving process that you'd like to share?
PS: One thing I found surprising is that I was able to recall a lot of memories that had been forgotten and they were surprisingly vivid. It made me very aware of the passage of time.

DW: Last but not least, were any songs played at the memorial that were important to the person?
PS: The memorial has yet to be planned, but I associate a lot of music with Bryan. We hung out at the bar I worked at in SF and it had a really good jukebox. We also used to sing while he tried to teach me to play the guitar. I don't sing with many people, but this was our go to song. Our version was fast and off key, but it was ours.