The New Crew

Tomorrow, Wednesday, is officially the beginning of “Drewfest” 2018.  It’s an annual summer get-together of Drew’s friends, usually taking place somewhere in Texas, with the specific goal of having a fun weekend together as if he was still around, yet remembering he’s not.  It’s a great endeavor, and one that in and of itself should be celebrated.

This year, the party comes to Ohio.  Sarah’s best friend will be arriving from L.A. in the afternoon, with 5 others arriving from Texas on Thursday.  9 people. In an 1100 square foot home. 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and 2 dogs. It will be a far cry from Drew’s parents’ ranch, and will be interesting for sure.

Regardless, Sarah and I are beyond excited to have everyone come to our home, so far from where Drew had ever even travelled.  We’ve spent months preparing. Home improvements, cleaning, craft projects, decorating our little deck with a “pirate” theme, and even cobbling together a “new” deck out of pallets and bits we had lying around.  At this point, there is still so much more to do before tomorrow, and we’ve been going flat out.

And I realize I haven’t even thought much about Megan lately.

In all of our preparation for company, Megan has taken a back seat.  I feel guilty about it, now that I’m stopping to think about it. There is no “Megan-fest” every year.  The majority of her friends have vanished, not long after her death. I make an acquaintance of one or two of them, but even those that I was personally closest with are only visited once or twice a year.  Nobody has ever really suggested even a get-together in her honor (myself included), and at this point, it would just be awkward, almost 4 years after the fact.

Chalk some of that up to different situations.  Drew’s friends certainly have different personalities than Megan’s.  Half of them are single, or at least have no children. All are healthy.  Whereas Megan’s friends have Cystic Fibrosis, or growing families of their own.  There were different “groups” in she and I’s circle of friends, and for the most part, they didn’t know each other.  

Regardless, it would be goddamned nice if some of them would have at least suggested getting together with Shelby and I, just for old-time’s sake.  It’s grown far beyond any desire to have them check on me.  I really could care less.  I’m a big boy, and can take care of myself, and I think they know that.  They know Shelby is solid as a rock, well cared for, loved, and honestly, dealt with her own mother’s death even better than I did.  They know Sarah is an exemplary mother to Shelby, and was never a threat to Megan’s memory. Hell, they even enjoy her company when we have gotten together at weddings or other events that bring everyone into the fold.

But they also know that I’m not the most social butterfly.  Getting me to initiate something has and always will be like pulling teeth.  Once I am IN a social situation, I like to think that I’m very open and outgoing, but it takes a village to drag me out of the house with anyone other than my family.  I realize that this is a fault of mine. Megan realized it too, and took the reigns, forcing me to just go with the flow of anything she planned. Sarah is much the same, but she shouldn’t have to be when it comes to anything that would be directly related to Megan.

No, I would have had to be the person to plan a Megan-fest.  I would have had to reach out and keep the story going. I haven’t.  I pass by her ashes every single morning on my way out the door to work, barely even considering that her friends don’t have this daily, visible, physical reminder that she’s gone.  They don’t live in the home that we shared. They don’t have a daughter that looks and acts more and more like Megan every day. Megan was, is, and will always be in my mind, and in my face.  

I guess these feelings are much more in the forefront, now that this year’s Drewfest is in the home Megan and I shared.  It’s increasingly weird to me. In 2018, I will have spent more time with Drew’s friends than I will have with Megan’s. I already have, with a January trip to Texas for a wedding.  I count them as some of MY closest friends, and they never knew Megan.

It will never feel comfortable to me to bring her memory up in this group, other than in passing.  Sarah is, for her part, “embedded” in the memories, just as I am with Drew. so it has never felt awkward.  But for Drew’s friends, Megan really is just “Mike’s late wife”. She’s a title, rather than a person we all knew and loved.  Drew’s friends have certainly never met Megan’s friends or family. There is no merging of these two groups. In fact, there really isn’t a “Megan and Mike’s friends” group any longer.   

Make no mistake, I am beyond excited to have this group of people share a weekend in our home.  All of the hard work and planning is going to make this a ridiculously fun time. I wouldn’t have it any other way.  They all seem to love Shelby and I, and have accepted us into their “crew”, as we call it. It goes a long way into feeling as if Drew is a friend of my own, as I wrote about last week.  

I just wish I had done better at making something like this happen for Megan as well.  

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