Although I didn’t have the chance to take his photo like we had planned – I did write a post about my friend Chaz Rodziewicz. I wrote this on Monday, around 4:00 a.m. The photo that is attached was taken by his uncle. I apologize for the swearing in this post.
I have been back in the Monticello area since late last summer. I can only think of a few times in my life when our community has faced such tragedy as we have in recent months.
Yesterday, (4/9) was no different.
Just a few months ago, my parents were slated for their vacation. Marc (my brother) and I were going to run the restaurant. Our parents entrusted us with not only running the store but hired a new person right before they left.
Chaz fit in quite well with our crazy little group. He learned at a pace that seemed nearly impossible to beat. He joked that his grades in school were not the greatest so he was even impressing himself at times.
It seemed as if his entire mission in life was just to see people happy. Every time he walked into the store he lit up the room where he was present.
He was always the first to come in and one of the last to leave at the end of the night.
Chaz had a lot of qualities I had as a kid. He was awkward at times. Had a laugh that was contagious.
He had told me that he intended on beating my fishing skills all summer. Truth be told, I knew that would not be difficult – but I would never have admitted that to him.
One thing was certain. We were both having unusually stressful weeks last week. After working all week, by the weekend, I was completely worn out. I was more stressed than usual.
We had just gotten through a lecture, I had given him about how my mother always preaches that you can not control how other people act. You can only control your own actions. It was something that even as an adult I sometimes wish that I could control others but most often I have learned that is impossible.
I had allowed a situation to make my blood boil. I was probably more tired than I had expected. But, at that point it wasn’t clear to me that I had allowed outside influences to alter my personal feelings.
I was down Friday. Chaz knew it. He came up to me and said, “ok asshole, if I have to be happy so do you.” I laughed and told him that I was ok. Just had a lot on my mind.
He had told me that he really took the conversation to heart. And, that he knew he could not hold a grudge and be the kind of person he wanted to be. Chaz was wise beyond his years. Had a work ethic like a work horse. Often times he came into work just to visit and would end up working that night just to help us out.
I can’t imagine losing a child. And, as I have gotten older, i have lost many friends, co-workers and family members. I remember one specifically that has stayed with me since my youth – my dear friend Stacie. Stacie was a lot like Chaz – if you could imagine that. Chaz just had a way about him that allowed himself to befriend anyone who wanted or needed a friend.
Chaz was one hell of a guy. I hope that he knows that he definitely left his mark in this world. For all of those who were friends or family to Chaz, my heart breaks for all of you.
In memory of Chaz, be kind to one another. And, always smile.