My friend, Lewis Imperiale, died early in the morning of October 20th, 2020 after getting sick with the coronavirus. He was 40 years old.
Please donate to this GoFundMe for Lewis’s funeral expenses. Even a small donation helps and shows love for Lewis and his family and friends https://www.gofundme.com/f/for-lewis-in-loving-memory
Now that the logistics are done, it’s time to write the hard part… I don’t want to write this post. I don’t want to admit that he’s dead even though that’s been true for almost 3 weeks already.
On the other hand I really want to write this post. I want to tell you all about Lewis and what he meant to me and I want to write volumes because it was only after he died that I realized how much he meant to me. For that, this post will be disappointingly short.
I don’t remember meeting Lewis. He was just kinda…. there. Before my junior year of high school I switched to Bear Creek High School. I only knew 2 friends who went to school there, Anthony and Dan, so I fell in with their friend group. Lewis was a part of that group.
During our senior year we would spend our lunch periods and free periods in the Senior Lounge of the school where we’d play Magic: The Gathering. Whenever I saw Lewis I would gleefully greet him by jumping into him mosh-pit style. Since I was scrawny and Lewis was not scrawny, he would just stand there and I’d just bounce off of him. It was, admittedly, a strange greeting, but it was a greeting that underscored the joy I felt whenever I saw Lewis.
I was ALWAYS happy to see Lewis. When I think of Lewis I hear his laugh and it hurts to think of his laugh now. He was always supportive. Lewis was one of my roommates when I started dating my wife, Corrine in 2002. He ended up being the third-wheel on some of our first dates and we were proud to have him as a groomsman for our wedding in 2009. Lewis was a fixture at our gatherings at our house which have usually been either for my birthday or for New Year’s Eve and he would usually bring some new bottle of whiskey as a gift. I have tried liking whiskey and mostly failed at liking it, but I knew that I would like any whiskey that Lewis brought with him.
The last time I talked to Lewis was in March to celebrate my 40th birthday when he came over with my new favorite whiskey (I didn’t know it was my favorite yet). I regret not talking to him more. I regret not taking all the chances I had to be around my friend that brought me joy whenever I saw him. We both liked pool and Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers and Flogging Molly and Dropkick Muphry’s and online games and hockey and so many other things and I kick myself thinking of all the times we could’ve spent more time together and didn’t. I can only hope he had half an idea about what he meant to me and everyone else who loved him. I can only hope now because I can’t tell him now.
I’m not good at letting friends know I love them. It’s something that us men are generally bad at. If I’ve ever said “Thank you” or “It’s good to catch up” or “We should hang out more” it’s been me saying that I love you and I’m proud to know you.
I wish I had known Lewis more. I am proud to have been his friend. Lewis was kind, selfless, easy-going and yet stubborn. It’s these traits that made us love Lewis and it’s these traits I blame for his death. If only… well it’s not good to dwell on the what-ifs as tempting as they are sometimes. Lewis is gone and no amount of guilt or regret will bring him back. Instead of guilt and regret, it’s better that we focus on being thankful for Lewis.
I wish we could all get together to share stories to help us appreciate the influence he had on our lives. I wish we could hug and drink and laugh and cry with each other at the same time in the same place to celebrate that we knew him and loved him. But instead of standing in front of you while reading these words and failing to hold back tears, allowing us to show our love for Lewis and each other in real-time, you are reading these words on a glowing screen and I’m doing something else.
We will be able to get together one day, likely on more than one day, to memorialize Lewis. The next Peacemakers show, the next Avalanche/Islanders game that we are comfortable going to, the next game of pool and my next sip of whiskey will all be events to memorialize Lewis. I’m looking forward to doing those things with you when it’s safe.
Please donate to the GoFundMe in Lewis’s name https://www.gofundme.com/f/for-lewis-in-loving-memory.
Thank you for reading this. It’s good to catch up. We should hang out more.