“Has anyone heard from Ralphie?”
Seeing that on your rarely active Facebook is what brought my night to a screeching hault. I had been thinking about you recently, wondering if you had called our Father recently. It always put my Dad’s mind at ease when he heard from his baby boy Ralph.
The tagged post on your Facebook raised my suspicion, but I tried to brush it off and go back to goofing off with the kids. But my mind stuck on Ralph. I started to worry; a gut-wrenching sense of dread dragged me down.
I messaged my Mom.
“Hey, you heard if something happened to Ralph today?”
Almost instantly my phone started ringing.
My speechless Mother on the other line, ambushed by my question as she had just received the news. Barely composed, she willed the strength to tell me we lost Ralph…
With just over 20 years in age difference, and 5 Provinces seperating us, I can’t say we had a very close relationship. But we had one absolutely unforgettable summer together. A summer where he took me under his wing, taught me how to be proud of who I was, regardless of size, living situation, or looks. He taught me to look in the mirror and see a fighter who could take on the world.
If I had never had those times to bond with him that summer I would be a much different person. I would have also never learned what Metal Mullisha was.
My last conversation with you was admittedly too long ago. You had called the house from jail to talk to Dad. This time though, our Father was in the hospital, awaiting surgery after suffering a heart attack. This was shortly after he recieved news of the mother of his children passing.
You almost blew my ear out with a “Holy hell kid, how the fuck are ya?”
“Good.” My exhausted breath let out.
I stumbled over myself in the realization that I was going to have to be the one to give him the news.
“Actually… Ralph, Dad’s at the hospital. He had a heart attack early this morning.”
“Jesus Fuck” All of your natural charisma and excitement stripped from your broken voice.
I heard the violent thump of your fist against lord knows what was closest to you. And our call was quickly wrapped up by the officer overseeing the call. But the quick, innocent “Love you, bud” you left me with will always stick with me.
I haven’t fully processed this loss. You will always be on my mind. Your voice will always ring through my mind in the form of toughness, motivation and determination. The memories of our summer together will always be the most memorable of any summer. Thank you for teaching me what the McGuigan name means. Thank you for being the families shooting star.
Rest easy ‘bud.