Throwing Muses was a band that was around in the 80’s-90’s era with talented musicians but no wide appeal beyond a local following. In other words, they were tailor made for a couple of rock club nerds like my younger brother and me. Somehow I caught wind of a concert they were playing at WPI which was less than 200 yards away from the apartment we were renting. We paid our $5 and entered the gym where they were playing which was filled with engineering students, most of whom had never heard their music. When the lights dimmed and they started playing we started cheering like maniacs, not caring what anyone thought of us. We spent a lot of similar nights in clubs in Boston, Cambridge and Worcester drinking cheap beer and listening to bands.
Within 3 years of that night he was gone. On this Friday, the 5th, it’ll be 20 years he’s gone. Went for a run one cold February morning and his heart just stopped. No history of heart troubles, no smoking guns found at autopsy…a mystery. It has taken a long time for me to remember all of our good times together rather than just the pain of his loss. His life allows me to measure my own and often lets me move on past minor indifferences and petty squabbles. He is my memento mori and I focus on being a better person for him, for his memory.
At the time of his death he had applied to nursing schools and afterwards the acceptance letters came in. He had worked as a mental health assistant (orderly, really) after college at a psych hospital in Jamaica Plain and wanted to become a psych nurse. His gift was relating to people. He could have a conversation with anyone: young, old, gay, straight, black, white, asian…anyone.
I often wonder what his life would have been like had he not gone for a run that day. Whether it would have happened some other day in the future or not. Unanswerable questions will drive you mad.
Here’s to you Kevin Patrick