Monday, December 01, 2008

Charles ...

A couple years ago, I wrote this post about my friend Charles Barile.

Charles passed away unexpectedly in 2003. We had plans to see each other three weeks before he died, but we canceled them because work was getting in the way. We vowed to get together another time.

Death is never easy, but the sudden death of someone so vital is particularly confounding. Five years later, I still have days when I miss him more than I can fathom.

Saturday afternoon, as I rummaged through boxes of Christmas decorations in my basement, I ran across stacks of holiday cards I'd saved over the years. I brought them up to my office and wandered down memory lane. Of course, I happened upon one from Charles. And I burst into tears.

Charles was terribly suave but his cards always qualified as "cute." They weren't just from him, though. His daughters signed them, too.

He had very distinctive penmanship. As I held the card, I thought about him signing it, about the link between us, something he'd once held in my hands that I was now holding in mine. I put it on my desk in front of my copy of Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture, mementoes from amazing men, both lost too young.

Tonight, in my office, I was overcome with his presence. I wrote to his daughter Alex – she found me this year through my blog post about her dad – to let her know that I found the card and that I felt her dad around me.

"Anything you want me to tell her?" I asked him.

"Tell her I love her" popped into my head.

I rolled my eyes. "Gee, Charles. Do you have anything a bit more specific?"

"She used to have a doll."

Sheesh. Gee, a girl who had a doll? And?

"It wore pink."


"It had blonde hair."

And? Charles was a smart man. You'd think he'd give me something more solid right off the bat. Or maybe he felt like chatting.

"And blue eyes."

"Well, of course it did, Charles. Look at her." Girls, it seems, favor dolls that favor them. "What was its name?"


Finally. Something specific.

I haven't heard from Alex yet. Of course, it's entirely possible that she never had a doll named Susie. But I won't be surprised if she did.

I don't feel him now. I just asked, "Honey, are you still here?" Nothing. "What?" I asked. "Are you having a drink with Sinatra?"

Actually, Bogart is more likely. Charles wore the hell out of a white dinner jacket.


Anonymous Andia said...

:(( You cant see my tears...

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand. I, too, lost someone too young and think of him often.

9:31 PM  

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