I flew out to Phoenix February 3, 2004 to prepare for the loss of my little sister as did the rest of my family. Nancy hung on for 10 more days before leaving our family on Valentine's Day. The process was brutal and mind-numbing.
This might sound awful but I just couldn't wait to get back home. I needed my bed. I needed my friends. I needed a drink. I needed to cry privately. I needed LA. I needed to do nothing. I needed to do something else.
About 20 minutes after she passed I called Southwest Airline's and booked my ticket home for later that afternoon. Then I called my friend Edwin for a pickup and ride home. He didn't answer and as I was leaving him a message my voice broke and I hung up. I think I managed, "Hey, she just passed and I um..."
It wasn't long before he returned the call and we sorted out the details of my arrival at Burbank Airport. Sure enough he was waiting curbside and after a warm and generous hug he asked, "So, what do you need? Home? Or do you need to get drunk?"
I replied, "Drunk please."
Well, it was a Saturday night. And I was really happy Edwin wasn't going to leave me alone that night.
We ended up at my usual watering hole and over our first beer Edwin and the bartender were bitching about how dumb Valentine's Day is as I remained silent - still frightfully numb from the events of the day.
Finally the bartender asked me, "What about you? How do you feel about Valentine's Day?"
He knew my sister was ill already so I said, "I watched my sister die today."
He cooed, "Oh honey, I'm so sorry. Let me help you out."
And he did. One shot after another. Until I went from one kind of numb to another. With one of my best friend's keeping up at my side.
It was the best hangover I've ever known.