Fond Memories of a friend

I started seeing a therapist because I want to know how to handle my grief and guilt of Yuri‘s passing. Most days, I doing good and then someday I feel the grief wash over me again.

One of the few suggestions from the therapist was instead of writing about my guilt, maybe spend some time on the happy memories that I shared with Yuri. Here are a few of them.

Yuri & I went to Clevedon for a short hike around 2017. At that time, we were still in the beginning of our friendship and that was our first walk together. He drove us there and forth. Its hard to remember exactly what all we spoke about.

I remember him pointing out the Kauri trees during our walk to the summit. I remember him telling me which direction Coramandel is when we were taking in the panorama from the peak. I didn’t believe Coramandel was so close.

I think the funniest thing that happened was how I broke my phone.

We were back in the carpark and I was getting in the car. My phone slipped out of my pocket and fell across the door just when I banged the door close. Smack!

The phone was bent, screen cracked in hundreds of places. It was dead.

On a normal day, me breaking my phone like that would have sent me in panic. But me and Yuri sat there laughing about how it happened. About how my phone could have slipped anywhere on the hike but it slipped in the car. How perfect was the timing.

Yuri knew that I never learned how to drive and he kept telling me he will teach me how to drive. One day, we were coming back from somewhere and he decided it was time for my first driving lesson. He took me to an empty school carpark not far from where I live now.

He gave me basic instructions on what to do and told me to avoid the accelerator for now, just get a feel of the car. I started “driving” and it was cool until I ended up near the end of the carpark and I had to turn left (NZ has left hand drive). I didn’t have the spacial awareness of being in a car and Yuri immediately grabbed the steering wheel and jerked the car to the left.

Turns out I was about to hit a parked car that I didn’t even see much less avoid.

He was reasonably a little bit worried and I was really worried. But he took his time and explained things over once more. He gave me a few more lessons that day and dropped me home. By the end he was laughing about how I almost hit a car.

It wasn’t long after that I brought my first car so I can learn how to drive. Yuri was one of the first ones I told about my car.

There was a time when Yuri owned two cars. He brought a sedan thinking it would be a good investment but he found the petrol cost was too much. So he brought a hatchback and owned two cars for a couple of months. He once drove in his Sedan to my house and then, for reasons I no longer remember, decided to leave it there and pick it up later.

His sedan was parked on the road and I had a clear sight of his car. That week, we would text pretty much daily and I would tell him that his car is still there & he would say ‘phew’ or something like that.

Yuri, Umang & I went to an Indian buffet-style restaurant once. The thing about Yuri that I always loved was he was always eager to eat food. He would eat a lot of food. So we get to the place, and Yuri just fills his plate up. He finishes that.

Then he fills it up again. He finishes that too.

Then the third time. But this time he can’t finish it.

Umang & I know that sometimes overeating Indian food gives stomach ache. It feels like we are filled upto our throat. Umang & I nodded in agreement as Yuri described this feeling to us. Luckily we were in Sandringham: the suburb with Indian restaurants & shops.

It is Umang who buys a Hajmola for Yuri. Five minutes after eating one, Yuri is willing to go for another round. Yuri told me later that he went and brought heaps of those Indian tablets because it was so effective.

I don’t know how to end this post. So I will just say:

To Yuri,

You were one of the few people with whom everything was easy. I miss you.

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