The month of March has never been my friend. The month of March was the month that I lost my father and my job in the same week almost ten years ago. I lost a friend this weekend. He lost his life during his 2nd heart attack. He was 35.
I met Dan just a little over a year ago. Last February, after a traumatic break up that almost broke me down, I was out with some mutual friends. My friend Beth had suggested setting me up with Dan, but never actually pursued it, he just happened to come out with her that night.
We hit it off fairly quickly. There was good conversation and mutual interests. He walked me to my car, and I joked later that I had wanted to ask for his number but hadn’t. I sent him a friend request that evening and we talked the next day. We went on a few dates, but never a committed relationship. He laughed at me for sending a text before our first date that said “we’d have fun with our clothes on”, just to make sure he knew the boundaries beforehand. Maybe most women aren’t that straightforward?
Our 2nd date we handed out condoms to homeless busker kids in South Side. Dan had one of the biggest hearts I will probably ever know. I learned quickly that Dan was never comfortable just sitting around. He was honest to a fault and not one to ever back down from a confrontation, but would at admit when he was wrong. We met shortly after I had learned to drive. Sometimes being in the car with me would stress him out a bit, but he would compliment me when I improved the next time we were together. He was one of the handful of people who helped me move. He liked to cook and would always share his food with me. Dan was the first person I knew who used Sriracha as a regular condiment. He stayed up with me late at night, when I would sob my way through anxiety, never passing judgement, always kind.
Dan was from Easton, Pennsylvania, but he was a long time resident in Pittsburgh. His pride was on his skin.
He was a man who stood up for what he believed in. He was a member of the Pittsburgh Occupy movement. I remember him telling me the story of his confrontation with the police, nose to nose during the G20 conference, when he showed me this picture with immense pride.
I remember one of the times we hung out together and I helped him shave his head. He took the clippers from me, telling me I was being too timid.
I wish I had more photos of us together. But instead I have this photo that Dan took with his friend, Mr. Turtle, who he like to take pictures of.
Dan leaves behind a fiancee, family, and many friends who will remember his larger than life personality. He burned too bright, too fast. I will always regret not spending more time with Dan, during the short and intense time I knew him. Though I comfort myself with the knowledge that he would forgive me, if I could tell him. I don’t think he ever really knew the extent to which he was loved, and he’ll be missed terribly.
His fiancee, Sharon, has created a fundraising page for anyone who would like to contribute to off setting the family’s funeral costs.