Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Death Club

I’m a writer and sometimes I do not get to choose the topic or subject that I end up writing about. Most artists/writers/painters/hairdressers, often say that their work is actually just channeled from a spirit or passion outside or within themselves. Today, my passionate spirit tells me that I am going to write about death.
Damn. I’ve been the “lucky” conduit of sentences and thoughts relating to this subject before. When one of my best of friends, Dennis, died in a car accident five years ago, I wrote a whole fictionalized tale about the incident. What was finally written (#catharsis) was a story about the guilt and loss one feels when loosing someone close who was so young. Because of my loss and with this story I realized my membership into the Death Club. The Death Club is the club that you think you can be a part of but never really are until you loose a close friend or family member. You may know what to say when someone else dies--someone not close to you. You may know how to do the right things, like listen to, comfort, or cook for the people “left behind.” But you will still be the same person you were, and will continue to be until you officially become a member of the Death Club.
When someone dies young or untimely or brutally, it changes the people close to them. For my own loss already mentioned, it got me to thinking that I should have been nicer to Dennis. Listened more. Cherished our relationship more. Before his accident, he had broken his leg, and gained weight and felt lethargic and unhappy. I was his buddy but I kept up my pace, go-go-go, of which he had previously been a part of and no longer could or wanted to. On the night of the accident, we were talking back and forth while he was driving from San Francisco to Palm Springs. I knew he was tired and I knew he probably had a glass of wine with dinner. And I knew he sounded bummed out but both of us always tried to stay “upbeat;” meaning: we hardly talked about what was really up with us. It was only minutes after I talked to him that he swerved into the guardrail and was instantly killed. (No one else was hurt.)
I have not been the same person every since that accident. I hear Dennis in my head telling me to keep writing. Dennis was always my biggest cheerleader and he always wanted me to write about him and our adventures—and I have and I do hope one day to publish those stories. Nowadays, I may be a little bit of a “go-go-guy,” but I don’t distract myself with the silly things that used to jeopardize my goals. And I always try to listen to the writing that is trying to channel through me. I would not be as good or diligent a writer without Dennis, nor without the Death Club.
What brought this subject to mind on this day? #1 Last February, my fourteen year old niece became a member of the Death Club. He beloved friend, Aly, and Aly’s mother were murdered by a mentally unstable ex-spouse.
#2 My friend Mark was murdered in his own Arizona apartment in a few nights ago.
Both of these deaths have linked me to my niece and Mark’s friends and family. I know what they are going through. And I know what the days ahead are going to be like.
Yes, I know what to say to the one’s left behind. And they know I will be here for them. But, more importantly, I know that they will never be the same person they were before their friends were taken. It’s a terrible club to be a part of, but one that we may all have to unwillingly join one day. We have to make what we make with this membership. I write.
Please order your copy of Mafia Hairdresser, the novel about my life as a hairdresser to a mob couple in the 80's, and subscribe to this blog!


  1. Please fill free to comment or follow my blog. The more followers, the closer I am to publishing stories.

  2. This piece is beautifully written and very moving!

  3. Nice reflection on the devastating impact of Mark's passing on so many of us.

    Achy and empty today about it.

    Love, Honey

  4. Sorry for your loss, J-D. Writing is a cathartic and healthy way to get through the pain.

  5. So sad to hear about Mark. I've been a member of the Death club since I was very young and know exactly what you are talking about.

    Thanks Jon David.

  6. JD,
    Came across your blog just today. Mark (and a few others) are what link us.
    What a difficult time it's been...
    And glad to know that even in the midst of 'craziness', you're doing well!