I really regret that Buol and I didn’t remain as close as we once were. There were years there where we were practically inseparable. Over time, however, we drifted. Most of my focus was placed upon my growing family and career up here in Madison, while he was beginning to lay the foundation for a family of his own down in Stoughton and Oregon.
A year or so ago, he hooked Lizz and I up with a washer and some basement couches from the apartment he was moving out of. Following some hilarious issues with the water he couldn’t seem to turn off, we loaded them up into the truck and took a moment to breathe. As we wiped our brows, he told me that he was glad to see me. He was happy that despite the fact that we hadn’t been as close as we once were, we could so easily fall right back into it. After we were done, he left and I began to think about how time had gotten away from us. I thought of all those good times we might have had if we’d only chosen to stay close.
I’ve thought of little else, these past 36 hours.
One night, following a second shift at the cheese factory, I came home to the apartment in Belleville and was met at the door by one upset Buol. Those of you lucky enough to be on that end of that rage know what I’m talking about. Terrible, I know, but I’d forgotten to buy toilet paper and, well…it had been my turn. It was around 11:30PM in downtown Belleville and yeah, no 24-hour marts in those days. Didn’t matter, he INSISTED that I remedy the situation. And so, I ended up trotting out to grab an industrial-sized roll of single ply from the cheese factory and upon my return, all was right with the world.
Ya see, Buol wouldn’t hesitate to call ya on your bullshit (of which I had – and have – plenty) but he’d also be just as quick to hug it out when the TP made it’s way home. I think he just wanted people to care a bit more about the things he held so dear. He didn’t force himself and his views upon you, he just slowly convinced you that the way he saw things, the way he handled things…were simply better ways.
Love of family. Love of friendship. Holding these things above all else.
I keep hearing tones of regret mixed with all of this sadness we’re feeling and sharing. How we all wish we’d taken more time to hang with him over the years, or how, as is the case with me, time simply had it’s way with things. This has been so freakin eye-opening for me. Just look at how much we take for granted. Look at those people around us that we love so much and would do anything for and how we sometimes forget how important they are; how important their love is and I think about how on some days….it’s almost like they’re not even there.
And then one day….they’re not.
We get swallowed by selfishness and then spat out – destroyed, buried in regret and loss and confusion.
I still don’t know what’s even going on. I forget why I’m so fucking sad and then it hits me again. I can’t text Buol to tell him about the shitty movie I just saw. I can’t invite him to my next party just so I can indulge in whatever deliciousness he brought, while also basking in his GIGANTICALLY genuine smile and incomparable newlywed glow. While I’ve appreciated every note I’ve received; every hug and message of love, every sad emoticon and tale of awesome Buol lore, writing about this guy has been one of the BIG reasons I’ve made it through these past couple days. All of these amazing memories keep pouring out of me. Things I haven’t thought of in a decade. Good things, things I shouldn’t have allowed myself to forget. As I said, our friendship as of late was a shell of what it once was. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain I’d be feeling had that connection endured as it once was.
I think of his parents. His brothers. I think of Nicole.
Please know that we love you guys as much as we loved Jeremay. We hope you know that. I know that you saw in him what we saw in him. You are a HUGE part of who he was as you brought him into this world and you shaped him into the amazing man that he was. And then, on top of everything…you shared him with ALL of us. For that, and for everything, we’ll remain forever in your debt.