Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I have been listening to different versions of Sarah McLaughlin's song "Arms of The Angel" a hauntingly beautiful tribute to a musician friend who died of a heroin overdose.

Spend all your time waiting for that second chance
For the break that will make it ok
There's always some reason to feel �not good enough�
And it's hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction, oh beautiful release
Memories seep from my veins
They may be empty and weightless, and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight

In the arms of the Angels, fly away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here

So tired of the straight line, and everywhere you turn
There's vultures and thieves at your back
The storm keeps on twisting, you keep on building the lies
That you make up for all that you lack
It don't make no difference, escaping one last time
It's easier to believe
In this sweet madness, oh this glorious sadness
That brings me to my knees

In the arms of the Angels, far away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
In the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here.

This is one of those songs I have learned to love so much that I NEVER get tired of it.

My best friend, David, died of a heroin overdose when he was 24 years old. His addiction had gotten so bad that i didn't even answer phone calls from him anymore. These came, more often than not, at two or three in the morning after he had scored and was looking for someplace to use as a shooting gallery. The last time i saw my pal Dave, the person I loved more than anybody I've ever loved outside of my family, he went into my bathroom, shot up and passed out. I went in to find him after twenty minutes or so and found him on the floor with a bloody outfit in the sink. I told his girlfriend that she had to get him up and out, because if he died there I would throw him off the back porch and leave him for the garbagemen to find. I meant it. He died a couple of months later. I talked to him once on the phone a month or so before he died and he talked about how sorry he was that he had never seen mountains. He broke my fucking heart. I told him that i would take him to the Rockies anytime he was ready to go without a needle. Of course, that couldn't work. If he had asked at that moment to trade existences, I believe I would have done so.
When Dave died, I wept. i didn't shed a few subtle, manly, tears. The floodgates of grief opened and I wept rolling on the floor. Since that day I have lost my mother, my brother, my father, but I have never grieved with the passion and ferocity that I had when David died. How to explain? It is not really possible.
I wrote a poem for David in the days following his death. I don't remember it all, but the first line was
"David died today, he bounced down the front porch steps..."
Compare this to Sarah McLaughlin's beautiful poem.
I am wondering, was i just too close to the stink of addiction, or was I just that much less loving?


Fr. Peter Doodes said...

Dave was blessed in having someone that loved him so much as to be able to be a straight talking friend. I have no doubt that he valued that. You weep, not just for what has been Big Bear, but for what should have been.

Addiction is an aweful thing, it destroys the future and damages the past, but the sad fact is that none of us can help a person who is so far down Addiction Road that even when they want to, they cannot return.

From you writings it is obvious that Dave also loved you as a friend. I am sure that the thought of his actions (that he was unable to stop) effecting you as it has, would cause him even greater pain.

Dave, I am sure, wants you to remember the good times!

coppermare said...

I was in this situation and lost my best friend(we'd even became blood sisters when children) She, pointed this song out to me long before she died and we both had a mutual understanding. The song still makes me cry.