Three Years of Silence — Missing my Friend

Jon Acton
4 min readJan 25, 2024

Three Years of Silence — Missing my Friend

Three years. You have been gone for three years and I still have no idea how that’s possible. You were the biggest, the strongest, the smartest and the most likely to create havoc. You were a friend to everyone. Well, almost everyone. You were the real-life version of someone who never knew a stranger. You were a husband, a dad, a brother, and a son. You were a teacher, a coach, a mentor, a sage and a storyteller. You were bigger than life. You were also my best friend. Cancer didn’t care. Cancer fulfilled its only purpose which was to destroy. It is still surreal and sorrowful to say out loud you are gone.

I went to your gravesite the day you were buried, and I have not been back. I can’t go. I know I should visit. I should take flowers or headless peeps (an amazing inside joke), but I just can’t go. I know you’re not there. I would break down crying and never make it to your tombstone. I also know you would make fun of me. A profanity laced browbeating that would mock me, while you burst into your deep belly laugh. I can hear your voice as clear as a wolf’s nighttime howl, “Quit crying you big wussy.” We all know wussy is not the real word.

Your number is still in my cell phone. I almost called you today, even though I know that’s impossible, and you can’t answer. I don’t know how many times I have wanted to call you, text you, show up at your front door. We talked every day for over ten years as our classrooms were side by side. A mistake made by the administration that forged a forever friendship. As I changed roles and schools, sometimes we wouldn’t talk for a month. Sometimes we talked every day for several months in a row. I don’t think we even thought about any gaps in time. I call, you answer, you call, I answer and the gap in time never existed.

Until now. Now there is silence. There is so much I want to talk about. So many things I need to yell about, scream about, cry about and cuss out loud about. So many things I need your blunt advice about. Instead there is silence. The silence is deafening. The cruelty of cancer never ends. Cancer doesn’t care.

I can still hear the cliches from your funeral. He’s not suffering anymore. He’s in a better place. He’s got the best seat possible; he’s watching over all of us. I shake my head and smile knowing you would have a symphony of swear words for all the well-meaning gibberish. I can see the sparkle in your eyes right…

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Jon Acton

Husband, Father, Former School Superintendent, National Blue Ribbon School Principal, Teacher, Coach, Author in progress