Sidestepping from humor to wonder for a moment. Messages of love & support from “The Great Beyond” the subject of the day, for today is my O.G.’s birthday. O.G. stands for “Other Gemini”, one of those nicknames that presents itself without thought and that sticks like glue to the degree that you no longer address one another by your real names. My best-friend and I’s “glue” was the unintentional but funny & permanent result of his “post bitter break up phase” with his partner of 15 years. Shortly after their break up a mutual friend was regaling his ex with a story of whatever Eric (aka: My O.G.) & I’s latest escapade was. His ex failed to find the amusement in the shared story (though I’d bet that it was, indeed, amusing! Heh, heh!) and sarcastically responded to this mutual friend, “Ugh! They’re just like each other! It’s like the other Gemini!”.
Ohhhhh, how we laughed!
And so “O.G.” was born.
My O.G. was only 48 years old when he passed away, an age I will be surpassing just a few days from now. It’s a long, drawn out, sad story of terminal illness that there’s no fun in sharing but suffice it to say that it ended with him passing away on July 23rd, 2014. Almost three years later I am grateful to now be in a place where I remember him mostly with a warm heart and triggered smirks, if not flat out laughter, ever thankful for the undeniable bond and multiple, undeniable, messages he has sent me from that “Great Beyond” previously mentioned. This is the tale of one of those messages.
If you paid attention in U.S. history class (I plead the fifth) then Sacagawea is familiar to you, the Indian princess that assisted Lewis & Clark on their expedition. Despite the fact that I’m sure I was “taught” this in school, I knew nothing of Sacagawea until the day that my O.G. showed me some rare coins that his grandmother had given him that featured this historical & strong female. As best friends do, we somehow morphed this into a good luck mantra where any time we wanted something good to happen we used it as a manifesting chant: “Sacagawea!”
Fast forward to about a year later after he showed me the patinaed coins. In ailing health but not yet aware of the true severity of it, Eric decided it was time for a change. He was ready to head back to the western part of the U.S. where his roots were and start a new & fresh life, power washing off the bad juju, memories, & struggles of his past few years in Florida. With a heavy but supportive heart, I bid him adieu as he loaded up his U-Haul, only to have my breath taken away when I saw the image displayed on the side of his rental truck:
There she was! A huge profile, proud & braided, ready to accompany him as his prominent, lucky charm on the road to his new beginning. WOW! Never before had either of us seen this U-Haul image and, after he pulled out of the driveway, neither of us encountered it again in the years to follow.
I received the dreaded but not unexpected phone call from his brother in California mid-morning on July 23rd, roughly three years after Eric had moved away. I knew when I talked to my O.G. last that it would be just that…the last. He literally told me that as I cried. I told him that wasn’t okay and he had to wait for us to get together one last time yet he firmly but gently let me know that I needed to understand that wasn’t going to happen. With tired, peaceful, matter of fact, he made it clear that his death was imminent and that I needed to accept it. I remember sitting on the edge of my patio crying while I talked to him that last time, pleading and telling him how much I loved him, tucking myself in under a blanket of tears and sorrow that night after our conversation ended.
The very few following days involved him being admitted, once again, to the hospital, a place that he had become all too familiar with. Naturally, I called to speak with him there but the nurse that greeted me on the other end of the line told me that he was not taking calls. I implored her to let him know it was *me*, which she kindly accommodated as she put me on hold to relay that information. When she returned with the shockingly same message, “he was not taking calls”, I knew that this was, indeed, “it”, and that our last phone call was, as I had felt but tried to deny, his official “goodbye” as he embraced his fate.
I called my mother that night, distraught and devastated, and, as wonderful & wise mother’s do, she told me that the best gift I could give him was to let him go. Upon hanging up I laid on my couch and cried & cried, speaking out loud through sobs in my living room to Eric despite the fact that it’s only occupants were my two dogs. Urgently I hoped, and even believe(d), that he could somehow hear me – feel me – as I took my mother’s words to heart, letting him know that I understood and it was okay to “go”.
And so, the very next day, it was.
And so I crumbled.
And so he was gone.
I got the phone call that he had passed away in mid to late morning and immediately collapsed on another one of my best friend’s doorsteps, gratefully located just two doors down from my own. What transpired from there is a blur but I know that, through the hotline, she & a small collection of other friends created a shared mission to transport me for us to gather at one of their swimming pools to lay in the sun, soak in the water, and just “be”. No pressure to talk yet not permitting me to be alone as reality set in. The mutual friend’s place was not far, less than a mile away, though I remember nothing of the drive. Our arrival, however, is a crystal clear and vivid, cherished memory, now & forever.
I have a foggy recollection of the car I was riding in pulling into a parking space in the private lot. I remember just sitting in my shotgun space, my friend telling me we were there and “let’s get out”. Through a molasses fog I managed to open the car door, looking up as I was ready to exit…..and there was my U-Haul, O.G., angel! As I mentioned previously, though he had been gone for three years I had never again encountered a Sacagawea U-Haul until that moment yet there it was at the end of the parking lot directly in my line of vision, this Indian princess that I firmly believe did not greet me by coincidence that day.
A finger inserted into a spiritual, emotional, light socket, I instantly snapped alert. Liken it to having smelling salts shoved under my nose & spirit, suddenly and brought back to life, emotional & aware. Instantaeously, I became a bubbling brew of tears and laughter, as this incredulous sight shone on my face and my sorrow with the sun. No, this wasn’t coincidence. This was my friend! My O.G. Letting me know he was still with me, always.
When we had his memorial a month & a half later I gave the eulogy and shared our background & meaning of Sacagawea, punctuated with this “day of departure” U-haul encounter. “Sacagawea” then became the battle cry of honor & tribute, glasses clinking together, shouted at random during this farewell gathering of friends. He would have loved it!
After his passing I contacted his brother and requested those coins, which he sent and which I am deeply grateful to have now & forever. One is attached to the urn that I keep outdoors in my “hang out” space where I spend the majority of my free time so that he is with me most often. Another is in my vehicle so he travels with me wherever I go. A third Sacagawea, not made of metal but of ink, is with me every moment of every day.
As a side note, only very recently (within the past month) did I notice that the font that I selected for my scripted “Sacagawea” tattoo actually creates an unintentional “O.G.”.
Unintentional on my part.
Universally intended flair.
Happy birthday to my O.G! Forever young.