- Austin Hamblin
This is a short writing for my upcoming collection called Odds and Ends which will be released in the next few months. As a note I wrote this over a year ago.
I have been off the past few months. When it starts to get cold outside, my depression does get a little worse due to the lack of sunlight and outside to my already terrible mental illness. If I’m honest, one of the things which has me out of sorts is the death of my relative Allen. I say relative because technically he was my dad’s cousin on his mom’s side. Allen was twice my age, so what could we have in common? Seriously We both had such a different upbringing. He was raised on a farm and I grew up in town. He had four brothers and I had two sisters.Despite this, we had… two huge common interests: professional wrestling and comic books. I had always known he was into comics and professional wrestling (just like his brother Gary, who I am also very close with), but it wasn’t until I had been reading comics a few years that I thought to myself, “I need to talk to The Duo.” So I did, and we just chatted about them. When I say “chatted,” we basically just complained about them. If you would had been listening, you would have thought we hated them, we just bitched about them like comic readers do. Don’t get me wrong, we talked about the stuff we love, but we mainly talked about why they wouldn’t do things this way or how we though these multi-million dollar companies should really be doing things.
About a year ago, Al had started to have problems and we learned he would need a new liver. Suddenly, he started retaining a lot of water and was in a lot of pain. He was having problems getting around. He ended up passing out and going to the hospital. He was not doing well. When I went to visit him, he was basically in a coma. I just talked to him about the stuff we normally would. It felt really odd, but if it would be the last time I talked to him, I wanted it to be just like it always was if that makes any sense. He ended up staying in the hospital for a while, but was doing much better, and began to more responsive. He was still a bit out of it because of all the meds that put him the coma. I went up 4-5 nights straight. The second night he thanked me a ton for coming, and he was thanking all the nurses and doctors. It looked like he would be out in the next few days. Since I was busy over the weekend, I didn’t go visit. According to his brother, he was back to normal and they just wanted to observe him a little longer.On Tuesday at 6 AM when I was at work I got a call from Gary. I texted him saying I was at work, but if it was important I would go call him. He immediately sent back “Yes please call.”I called and a sobbing Gary answered saying Al’s levels had spiked and they had moved him into hospice. He wasn’t doing well and said “Al loved you and he knew you had been up here.” I told him I would be ASAP. They didn't know if he had hours or days left. I left work and drove straight to the hospital.
It was rough, I won’t lie. Al wasn’t the first person I’ve known who died. I mean of course not. I’m 24 years old. I was close to him and I didn’t see this coming at all. He was 48 years old. I visited him and he was unresponsive, but sometimes he would have violent seizures. I was super uncomfortable, probably the most I have ever been. I loved him.If I hadn’t visited him I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. I couldn’t let Gary deal with this by himself. His girlfriend Becky was super great, and stayed a lot. If it wouldn’t have been for her, I would have been a lot more worried about Gary.
He ended up passing, and I was happy as, fucking horrible as that sounds. I had watched him suffer and I now know that he wasn’t anymore. I don’t exactly know what I believe as far as an afterlife goes, but the one thing I do know for sure was that he wasn’t in pain anymore. When they buried him, he had actually written an email for Gary to read to us, so as he did, I was hearing it read in Al’s voice. Al left me his entire comic collection, and left his toys to myself and Gary. We sorted out his stuff and, man, it was weird. I was digging through a dead man's stuff. We even found some things I had given him, and he had some of the comics I had written in his room. He has been dead for around two months as of right now. Sometimes I see an article online and I am going to send it to him, and I think to myself Oh yeah.. It’s like I know he’s dead, but I don’t want to accept it. I’ve been trying to write more, but lately I’ve been insanely depressed (not because of this) and I just thought I just want to write something. I actually want to write and for some reason this came to mind. Rest easy Al until we meet again. I get sad, but then realize he is upstairs, ringside with his dad Merlin, watching Eddie Guerrero take on Macho Man Randy Savage in a steel cage match.
Edit: I’ve been reading through loads of the comics he left me. I just really want to talk to him about them. Hopefully someday.