September 22, 2007


Anthony Caputo

Dear Anthony,

I went to your funeral today. That's certainly something I never thought I'd have to say, but I'm glad I went, because it helps to draw strength from others who knew you like I did. You had a lot of people in your corner at Boston College, that's for sure. I recognized probably half of the faces there today, and that doesn't even count all of our friends who visited you at the wake. As for the rest of the people there, I certainly didn't get to be personally introduced to every one of your family members, but I can say this much: One of the things I liked best about you was how it was so easy to be around you, and now I know where you got it.

After lunch, Sten introduced me to your parents because I wanted to give them a sympathy card. I guess I should feel lucky that I have no experience with funerals, but even so, it unnerved me, not knowing what to say to them. Above all, I was so impressed with how pulled-together they seemed. I would go so far as to say that your dad was jolly! He and your mom set a nice tone for the reception though, and I think that by greeting us the way they did, we (I speak for your friends, here) all felt at ease, especially after a painful mass and burial. Anyway, all I could think to say to them as I handed over the card was, "Thank you for sharing all this with us." They thanked me in return - I think they were really touched by how many of us came today. Beyond that, though, I just wanted to let them be. There's only so much you can say, I guess.

The weird thing is, now I have all these questions for you! As if it would be the most normal thing in the world for me to have gone to your funeral and then see you at a party sometime thereafter and just ask you what you thought about the whole thing. Did you notice there was a Cheerio under the seat in front of me at the church? I did, and I made a mental note to tell you about it later, because I figured you might find it fun to speculate on whether or not it was a communion wafer-in-training, or maybe a Junior Communion Wafer, manufactured by Gerber as one of those "first foods" or whatever.

What did you think about the Josh Groban song? It was beautiful, but let's be honest - I think everyone expected Phish to come out of the boombox at that point, given whose funeral it was. Even in death, we won't let you subject us to a ten-minute jam band song!

Did you always know you would be entombed in a wall? I didn't realize that it wasn't going to be a traditional cemetery. I guess they call them mausoleums? Interesting, though - I hope you have good roommates. I'm sure it'll be quieter than Newton Campus, and I'm positive no one's going to be pulling the fire alarm at 3am like when we lived in Edmonds. Only drawback is that in this particular case, I don't think you can take the door off the hinges and make it into a beirut table.

Are you totally uncomfortable with all the fuss made over you? I'm betting yes. In fact, I think that if you had any say in this at all, you would have told us not to worry about you - that we should find something better to do. "Maaaaaaaaan..." Yeah, but you know what, Anthony? A lot of people loved you and needed a chance to say goodbye. Do you realize that the last time I saw you was when I came to the States during my year in China? February, 2006 - a year and a half ago. It sucks, every time I think about that. And it wasn't fault on either of our parts, that we didn't see each other more, it just never happened since. But considering how important you are in my memory of college, it makes me sad that I didn't get to know you when we weren't doing things like performing halftimes, practicing drill, honing beer pong skills, or suffering through statistics class for the sociology major neither of us ended up using. (It's ok, though, because the breakfast burritos at the Rat afterward were awesome, remember? Enough to make that 9am class worth it. Thanks for walking to class with me every Tuesday and Thursday that semester, by the way.)

I miss you a LOT. Seeing all our buddies today made me feel your loss even more, because that's when I realized that you're not here. Obviously, I don't get to see all the old crowd very often these days - we're all busy being adults here and there. But there's no denying that where there's Paul, Matt and Ryan, there too should be Anthony. It takes four to earn the band's "Piss and Moan" award, and as acutely as I feel your absence, I can only imagine what it must be like for them.

No one should have to say goodbye to a friend so early, and I'll be angry for a while. The priest at your mass today said we'd have every right to feel that way for the rest of our lives, but the truth is it doesn't do anyone any good. I want to let your short life be a reminder to appreciate everything I have right now, just as it is. But just in case it starts to feel unfair again, do you mind if I write to you every once in a while?

In the meantime, I hope they have Busch Light in heaven.