Today marks the 5th year without our dear friend Raf. It still feels like I lost a limb.
I can still picture Ed's STUPID expression when he asked me why I was home from work- even though I had called to tell him what had happened. The pure disbelief on his face and the heartache I felt when I had to tell him again. On the phone I said, "Raf had a seizure in his sleep" and Ed, the optimist, interpreted that as "Raf is in the hospital and everything will be fine". At home, I forced myself to say it- "Raf died." and watched as Ed fell apart like I had at work. As those words passed through my lips, the raw emotion was overwhelming. I had been avoiding those cold words all day but it's what Ed needed to hear to make it real for him. All of it felt so surreal that I hoped I could just wake up and everything would be normal again.
I can still see him spinning around in his chair, facing me, while reciting his opening call script with that big goofy grin on his face. I will never forget staring at his empty chair and hoping it was all a dream. I can still hear his voice- especially him singing along to sublime in the van. Pushing the van, that same night, was pretty hilarious. Stupid van. Stupid alternator- dying in the middle of a downpour like that. It was awful but now I'm glad that I had those few extra hours with him that I would not have otherwise had had my van not decided to die at his house.
I can still hear him say, "Tell Samwise I said what's up" as we left work. He always said that Ed reminded him of a hobbit and that was his way of saying, "tell Ed I said hi". I can still see his face and that grin at the bar- OH MY GOD that grin. He was so happy as his head bobbed back and forth to the music. I'm glad that I have such an awesome last memory of him.
I wish I could forget having to explain to Adam why Raf wasn't coming to visit anymore. Watching a 6 year break down into tears like that ripped me apart. Logan doesn't even remember him which is bittersweet. He doesn't get to have the fond memories we do but he also doesn't hurt whenever he thinks about him.
He loved my kids and my heart hurts when I think about how he never got to meet Xander or Dean. He'd think Xander was awesome, I know it.
A friendship that started 10+ years ago in a gaming store ended too soon. We lost touch for awhile but when he turned up in my training class at work, Ed, Raf and I became very close. He was family to us and we only had that closeness for a few short months but I cherish those moments that we did have.
R.I.P. Rafael Santizo October 6th 2008 We miss you homie and we will never forget you.