After a fantastic weekend of sun and beach sports, I was walking downtown (Huntington Beach) and decided to stop at G’s Boathouse for a drink. While sitting there thumbing through Facebook I saw it. The kind of news you hate to hear. One of your best friends…is no longer with us. whether it was accidental or otherwise the fact is, he’s now gone.
Dan was my Junior designer while working at PMP in West Palm Beach. I hired him. I always tried to guide him to a better place. He was one of very few people I’d gladly call my brother. A light of talent, both artistically and musically.
Since I moved to California, Dan’s been having a real rough time. Job hunting, working odd jobs like flooring, etc. I hooked him up with a recruiter and I thought things were beginning to look up for him. His apartment (a guest house / garage) had recently let him know that the owner’s son wanted to use the space so he was going to have to move. Low on cash, I told him if things get bad, move out here. I have a spare room. He can stay for a couple months until he got back on his feet. Seeing a close friend on the verge of being homeless is something I could not let happen.
For the past two months, if you followed his Facebook posts, he’s been selling everything he owned to get the cash together for the move. He had whittled his life down to a large suitcase, two guitars and a mandolin. Trouble with his car, his license, his insurance. I sent him money to get that all sorted out and so it went. He was beginning to take care of his shit. Interviews were happening but nothing solid had clicked.
I was expecting him to move out here in a week or two, as soon as he sold his car. At times I’d sound like a father to him, giving him encouragement that he can make it happen. He can turn this around. He had mentioned stepping front of a train and I immediately berated him, “you’re better than that man! You don’t need to go down that road…ever!” I knew he was in a bad way so I called him every couple days to see how he was doing.
Sitting there staring at my phone last night, just crying in public. It struck me (and still hits me) so hard that I didn’t do more. I didn’t fly him out here. I didn’t… I didn’t… I didn’t. Who knows if I could have saved him. He took that chance away from me…. from all of us.
Where have you gone, Dan DiPaolo? You’ve gone somewhere I cannot follow. You’ve gone somewhere we cannot help you. I hope you find that happy place buddy…you deserve it. Rest in peace my brother.