Wednesday, August 10, 2011

June recap. part 2. say it. RIP Mike Olivieri.

The first day of the summer semester was a Tuesday (for me).  I was meeting with a claims adjuster in the morning so I switched to the evening class for c++.

It was like any first day.  Can you sign on the schools website?  Can you get into your email?  Can you see your grades?

As instructed, I signed into my email, then I signed into Moraine Valley Connect which is the site we use to sign up for classes, check our grades, gets messages about construction on campus, etc.  On the main page was a little note that said the flag would be at half mast in honor of soldier Michael C Olivieri.  I gasped.  I actually gasped.  I didn't think people really gasped reflexively but I did.  I started panicking... I was already in denial thinking maybe it was some other Michael Olivieri or maybe he had done something awesome and they were honoring him in that way.  Just typing his name into google didn't bring up a news story immediately (it does now) but then I found it.  I started crying, right in the middle of class.  Not sobbing.  Only the two people next to me saw.  They didn't ask.  First day so for all they knew I'm nuts and for all I know they're right.

I haven't talked to Mike in years.  He was my best friend right when I needed one.  And a good best friend.  We met at Comcast on March something (I used to know this by heart) 2008.  We were in the same training class.  We ate lunch together every day and took all of our breaks together.  We used to play trivia on his phone.  I remember his voice so clearly and the way it would rise when something was unfair.  Not unfair to him, but to me.  He was so protective of me, this pregnant weirdo who cried all the time.

I was so sad when he quit, right as we were about to make it through training.  I'm not surprised that he quit because he hated it (so did I, but I lasted nearly 2 years) but he didn't quit because he hated it.  The day he quit, he was supposed to go see his uncle about working with him but the night before his aunt and uncle were both killed in a car accident so he quit Comcast anyway to help take care of his cousins.

My biggest regret is that I never told him how much he meant to me for being there.  After he left Comcast we kept in touch for a little while but eventually, it just fell away.  He loaned me the movie Once and I never watched it, I sent him a text asking if he knew of any jobs (partially an excuse just to talk to him again) but he never responded.  And that was that.  He wished me happy birthday on Facebook this January.

And I just hope he didn't die thinking that I was too cool to hang out with him after he left Comcast, or that he wasn't important to me, or that I didn't care.  Because I did and I do.

this is not as I knew him but he looks good.
I don't like most people and I don't spend much time (any) trying to make friends.  Mike's death is a reminder to me that I have to stay close to people who I love, whatever the effort.  I just wish I could have learned it before Mike died so I could tell him thank you, thank you, thank you.

I wanted so badly to attend his wake but I didn't have any shoes because of the flood.  I was on my way to Walmart to buy the first black size 8 shoes I saw when my mom called to tell me she had locked herself and Oli out and I had her spare keys because I was borrowing her car.  I had to tail it to the city and that was that, missed the wake.  I went the next day to the funeral procession.  Stood outside in jeans and tennis shoes and watched the cars go.  It was really cloudy that morning but the sun came out right when the first car left.  The rest of that day was all good news.  I don't remember all of the great things that happened that day but I remember we got lots of good news from two of our three insurance companies after days of bad news.

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