As I was still reeling from the surprise diagnosis of the Saint's tumor, I received a phone call late Thursday night. "Are you sitting down?" my mother asked. "I have some bad news to tell you but it does not involve anyone in our family." Oh shit! WTF? I can't take any more. She then told me that my 2nd GBFF had died and he had committed suicide. I immediately went into my out of body experience mode. Paul, my 2nd GBFF and I had just had dinner together on Sunday. He called Sunday afternoon and said he felt like eating pizza and asked if I would join him. Ofcourse I obliged. We just basically ate and shot the bull. He was in a good mood.
To digress for a minute, Paul was in the catering business. His business had slowed due to the economy. He did all of my catering and I have known him since the late 80s when he was a waiter in one of my favorite restaurants which is no longer in existence. As the economic downturn has affected my business as well, we commiserated. We used to joke about getting jobs at Kroger as cashiers as the biggest challenge the job entails is asking "paper or plastic?". These people don't have to "bring work home with them," they are guaranteed a paycheck every two weeks, have great health benefits and get real vacations.....diametrically opposed to the life of a small business owner. I shared very intimate details about my life with Paul, and obviously he did not do so with me. I knew he was depressed but not this depressed.
Paul stopped by my office last Thursday and brought me 2 religious medals...he was a devout Catholic but didn't push it on everyone. He brought some prayer cards about praying for help in difficult economic times. He shared some old family photos with me. On Sunday, he brought me a book entitled "Zen The Art of Leadership" and I told him I would return it to him after I finished it. He said he wanted me to have it. I spoke with Paul on Monday afternoon. I called him on Tuesday and he did not return my calls. I emailed him on Wednesday to say I was worried about him.
As the story goes, he checked into a hotel on Tuesday night, took an overdose of Ambien and Demerol and killed himself. He left a suicide note with explicit instructions. Obviously he had been planning this for at least a month. I did think it was a bit creepy when he started giving me his possessions but now know it was his way of saying goodbye and to leave me a part of him. I later found out that over the weekend he had dinner with all of his favorite people. I am honored to be on that list but wish he would have confided about all of his feelings with me. I am beyond upset and sad. I will miss Pauly deeply.