This weekend I drove out to Bakersfield for Cory’s funeral service. It was a very long, dreary, desolate drive from the coast but I felt I had to go. I needed the closure and I wanted to share some photographs with Cory’s mother, whom I’d only met once close to 10 years ago.
Shortly after my first divorce, I was in need of a place to live. I was introduced to a young, funny, charismatic kid that was renting a room. I took the opportunity because I needed a place, any place, that was not the streets or my car. I am sure a lot of people that go through divorce can attest to the financial uncertainty that happens in the first few months.
Cory wasn’t even of legal drinking age when I first met him, I was pushing 30. I took to him like a younger sibling, offering pearls of wisdom (not that I had much), sharing stories of when I was his age. Not having had a history with Cory, I found it easy to talk about my split with my ex-husband. He helped me work through a lot of my feelings during that time.
I in turn was able to help him when he and his long time girlfriend split up. I took him out to cheer him up. Kept him company at home when he needed it. Listened intently when he needed a listening ear. I got to see a layer of Cory that not a lot of people got to see.
Most people that knew Cory saw a talkative guy, funny, charismatic, energetic, silly person even. I saw the introspective Cory, I saw him brood, I saw sadness, I saw the smart guy that hid behind jest. I saw the helpful side of Cory that few close friends got to see.
I was sick with bronchitis, so sick my ear drum had popped in my sleep. I didn’t have the help of a friend or spouse but I had Cory. He was awesome in my time of need and drove me to the doctors 15 miles away when my ear was bleeding. He skipped out on late nights out with friends to play monopoly at home while I was sick in bed.
For his 21st birthday, I took him out. His friends, for the most part, lived in Fresno and Bakersfield. The few friends he has made where we live were not yet of drinking age. So I took Cory out for his 21st birthday. I got to meet his mom, she drove out for his birthday and spent the day with him.
Cory and I became close, good friends. Even after he moved back to Bakersfield we still kept in touch. I knew he was troubled but I also knew he was able to rise above his troubles. This last year had been hard on him.
Poor choices and bad influences are a dangerous cocktail in life. And for Cory, that mix with added substance abuse is what finally did it. I am deeply saddened to hear about his passing. And I will miss our late night conversations. I spoke to him a week before he had passed and though I sensed something was wrong, I didn’t know he had become a substance abuser. I am really going to miss having such a caring guy around to talk to.