Losing a friend
By Michael Brooks
Last weekend I learned a good buddy from college had died. He was found on a bench in a homeless shelter in Dallas, unresponsive.
He suffered a bit from mental illness when we were all younger but it was never too bad. Back then, he was just referred to as “a little slow.” Today people would probably say "on the spectrum." As he got older, his mental illness got worse.
About a year ago I saw a post from his sister on Facebook asking everyone to please be on the lookout for him, as family had not seen him in a week.
That turned into eight months, when he finally posted an update on his facebook page saying he was okay, but living in Dallas now. That was his last Facebook post.
He was an amazing artist and painter, having several paintings that were displayed in art shows and even some that were sold as posters at Hobby Lobby.
Once we learned of his death, a few friends and I talked about some of our memories of him.
His family was British, and moved to the United States when his dad was young. In Britain, Hillary isn’t a female only gender name, but my friend had an unfortunate first, middle, and last name: Dee Hillary Rose III. We always saw the surprise when people met him, expecting a woman named Dee.
Fast Eddies was a pool-hall in Midland where we all hung out. One of my fondest memories of Dee was teaching him to play pool. He was terrible, but as we all continued playing, he steadily improved, and eventually was probably the best of the gang. Yet he always maintained his odd shooting style. He stood straight up, with no knee bend at all, and held the pool cue at his side to shoot, like a old-west cowboys with a shotgun.
He also loved to tell people about his sister, the actor.
Does anyone remember the 1985 Kevin Costner film Fandango?
One scene had the men (including Costner) picking up a few girls at the Sonic and going to the cemetery where they set off fireworks. That scene was filmed in Monahans, where Dee’s sister just happened to be hanging out on a Friday night. She was one of the girls who went to the cemetery.
“She was the one with speaking lines,” Dee always said.
Dee drove an old brown station wagon. When I would see him pull up to work, or my house, he reminded me of Michael Myers. So, Dee began parking the car, and stand beside it, doing a perfect imitation of the babysitter killer from Halloween.
It’s terrible death can bring back so many memories that probably only matter to the people who were there when those memories were made.
As we spoke, we all cried and remembered Dee. For me, it was a reminder we all need to check on the well-being of our friends with mental health issues.
I’m gonna miss you buddy.