On Monday afternoon, I was doing my usual grazing among the field of jobs, sprinkling my resume around like one of those irrigation washes onto a farm. Soon, I started to feel a little depressed again, wondering if I would ever be able to bring home a paycheck again. I was about to shut off the computer, when I received a Google Talk instant message from a friend who recently returned from Europe. Honest truth: I didn’t feel like talking to anyone at that point, especially about her one year anniversary trip with her husband to a part of the world I’m dying to see! She said, “Hey Taylor.” Usually there’s an explanation point after my name when talking to her–this time, there was nothing. Right after, she says, “Did you hear about Fabian?”
Again, I’m thinking, “No, but let me guess, he’s engaged.” But right after I finished that thought, I knew that wasn’t the case. I told her that I hadn’t heard anything and she replied with, “He died last night.”
DIED?! WHAT?! No. I literally could feel the color draining from my face. My heart started to beat quicker, I could feel the sweat start to accumulate on my neck, I could feel the chunks starting to rise up my esophagus, and I could feel the pain begin to set in. Had our good friend, an ex-girlfriend of Fabian, found out about this? We both knew that if she had, she would be dead herself.
I got up from the couch and stumbled over to my bed, knowing that I was about to throw up my entire lunch, faint, or both. I couldn’t look at the computer, I couldn’t talk to anyone, all I could see myself doing was heaving over the toilet as I tried to exterminate this terrible feeling inside of me. I fell onto my bed and lay there for a few minutes, wiping my forehead of the sweat and praying out loud. “No God, no. Not Fabian,” I said. “Please Lord, help Kelli. Help his family…” and minutes later I was feeling slightly better, so I stumbled back over to the computer.
“I literally just thought I was going to puke,” I told my friend. She said she had been feeling sick herself and was of course in complete shock. Both of us knew Fabian through Kelli, who had dated him for a few months about two years ago. Fabian meant so much to Kelli and was such a big part of her life for so long, and we both knew that even though they weren’t together anymore, his death would strike Kelli like a bus side-swiping an innocent bystander. Neither of us knew at that point if she knew yet, assuming she was at work, but we did know that another friend had tried to contact her a few hours earlier to break the news. I decided that I was going to call her and leave her a voicemail, as we were sure they were stacking up while she was at work that day. I figured by the time she got to my message, she would have known, and I just wanted to let her know I was there for her if she needed me.
After about two rings, she answered. “HEY!” She said. We hadn’t talked or seen each other in a while and she sounded surprised to see a call from me. I knew at that exact moment when she answered that there was no way she knew what had happened to her once boyfriend.
“Oh my gosh… Did Kelly call you?” I asked.
“Yeah! She did! But I didn’t answer! And I forgot to call her back! What’s up?” She said.
“Um, well… uh,” I hesitated, having never done this before. “Are you by yourself?”
“Yeah…” she started to sound less-peppy and more, whats-going-on.
“Are you sitting down?” I said, thinking if she was driving or walking, she needed to pull over.
“Yes,” she said.
“I can’t believe I’m the one to say this. Oh my gosh. But, Lisa IM’d me earlier and told me that last night, Fabian died.” Did those words really just escape my mouth? Talk about an out-of-body experience. I think at that moment, both of us felt as if we had floated above our bodies and were looking down onto this conversation as if it were not real.
Her reaction was the same as mine. “WHAT.” She then asked me how, and I replied with an I-don’t-know response, because we still, to this day, do not know what happened to him.
I asked her if she was okay, and she said she was just shocked, but rejoicing that she knew without a doubt that Fabian was with Jesus. What a comforting thought, to know so soon about someone having just heard of their death! I told her that I would come over to her house to be there for her if she needed me, so I drove over there expecting her to be sobbing uncontrollably. Miraculously, she wasn’t. She had shock all over her face, but also had extreme peace flooding over her.
I didn’t know Fabian all that well, just in passing as he was so important to Kelli for so long in her life. I remember before she started dating him, I was trying to coach her along to playing the “seemingly unavailable game.” (You know, acting like you’re extremely busy and you’re, well… hard to get) I won’t get into her relationship and feelings with Fabian as that is not my story to tell, but Fabian was around at events we’d all go to as a group. He came to my 22nd birthday party with Kelli, he was at Kelli’s birthday a few weeks later, and after they broke up and Kelli and I lived together, we still saw him around since we all shared some of the same friends.
Fabian was (to me, seemingly) a lot like me. Perhaps a male version of myself. He was a charmer, especially around women, he was slightly suave with his Colombian looks and accent, and he was charismatic. He was also sarcastic, blunt, and funny. It’s a weird thing that those of us have that are sarcastic by nature. When you know that someone else is sarcastic, like yourself, you know that you can be sarcastic with them and truthful about basically anything and they won’t take it the wrong way. The way that someone put it to me once was, “If you can dish it, then you can take it.” And that was exactly how I would describe the relationship I had with Fabian. He could certainly dish it out, so when it was my turn, I knew that he could take it. One of the last times I remember talking to him was one day when I walked into a Skype conversation with the two of them and she turned the computer toward me and Fabian and I chatted a bit. I remember him telling me, “Look at her rolling her eyes at that!” Whatever he had said, I inadvertently rolled my eyes at it and he thought it was hilarious. Whatever I dished out at that point is completely unknown to me to this day, but after I said goodbye to him, gave the computer back to Kelli, and walked out the door, my boyfriend was upset with me. “Taylor, you are so rude sometimes! Don’t say stuff like that!”
It was an, “oops, should have closed my mouth earlier” situations, but really, I had to explain to him the understanding that us sarcastic people have with one another. I can roll my eyes at what he says, even if I don’t realize it, and it’s not like he saw it as a sign of disrespect, but actually something funny. (If you’re sarcastic, you know what I’m talking about right now. If not, you probably think I am a huge bitch) Kelli told me later that day that Fabian had told her that he was very “intrigued” by me. I still wrote Fabian an apology note the next day and he responded quickly telling me that there was nothing I had to be sorry over whatsoever, and that my sarcasm/bluntness shows that I have “spice.”
Now, as I write this very piece, I am awe-struck in trying to believe my thoughts that Fabian is gone. If you’ve been reading my work for a while, you’ve probably noticed that death has always affected me in a weird way. For a while, I feared death every single day. Not that I was afraid of what was going to happen to me after, because that’s no question, but more of, how was I going to die? It was a huge fear in my life and somehow, I let go of that fear, but still feel as if my core is in deep pain whenever I hear of someone’s death, even if they were just someone I knew in passing. And now, I am feeling such sorrow and pain not so much for myself, but for Fabian’s family and close friends that are so much more affected than I am right now. I hurt for them, I feel pain for them, and I am praying for them. I am praying that they are comforted by knowing where he is right now. He is in the arms of our Creator! There is no better place.
When the pastor of our church in Tampa died tragically in 2008 in a plane crash, I was ridiculously affected to a point that I never thought was possible. I was hysterical for days and at his funeral, completely lost it. I was devastated, to say the least, and felt the most pain for his surviving wife, and the surviving five children. (One of his children was in the plane and died with him) But I was comforted immensely when I saw this verse come up:
Precious in the sight of the Lord are the death of His saints. (Psalm 116:15)
The Lord takes us home to be with Him for eternity when we die, and He sees that as precious. Not depressing, not horrible, not upset. Precious. He takes us home, He brings us to heaven to live forever, and that is none other than precious to Him!
I also remembered a song I first heard my senior year of high school by Matt Redman. It is truly what I picture happening the moment we die. And this is truly what I see happening to our dear Fabian on Sunday night, however he died, he was immediately welcomed into the courts of the King.
Welcomed in to the courts of the King
I’ve been ushered in to Your presence
Lord, I stand on Your merciful ground
Yet with every step tread with reverence
And I’ll fall face down
As Your glory shines around.
Though You bring grief Lord, I know that You WILL show compassion, for great is your unfailing love. And though we may be separated from Fabian for the rest of our lives here in earth, there is the hope, the promise, and the certainty that we WILL see him again!