Only Say Goodbye…for Now May 20 2017

Only Say Goodbye…for Now
By Michael Petrelli

I never wanted to write these words down for you, but sadly here we are. Today, family, friends and fans alike awoke to the news that you had left us. You left us with questions and stunned by your sudden absence, you left us saddened, confused and angry, but most of all, you left us to celebrate your light and the legacy that lives on. It hurts today, it will hurt tomorrow and the days to come, you were a voice from the heavens sent to invade our souls and that is not easily replaced or forgotten. You, Chris, were never just another rock star, you were a part of our lives and your words guided us along our journey thru life. We will never forget you and your beautiful spirit.

You and I crossed paths on June 23rd, 1994. It was the Superunknown tour and the band was playing the Tower Theatre in Philadelphia. My friend Rob and I got there early and were on the rail in front of Kim, it was the second time I had be lucky enough to see you guys. Fast forward to the end of the set, Kim points to me and has security bring me on stage, he whispers, “Keep it warm for me” as he straps his guitar around my neck. Frightened and in shock at where I stood, I did the only thing any of us could do, I played every single chord I knew and prayed no one would boo! Minutes felt like hours up there until you walked on stage and put your arms around me and said, “Do you hear that? They’re cheering for you!” I smile with discomfort and handed Kim his guitar back as I was shuffled off to the side of the stage to watch the encore. Once the show was finished, Rob and I were invited to come upstairs and meet the band proper. We met Kim on the steps; he shook our hands and complimented Rob on his UNLV t-shirt. The two struck up a conversation about college basketball as I ascended to the next floor to meet you. I spoke to Ben briefly before sitting next to you on the couch. You asked me how I liked the show and we talked about various songs, the tour so far and my ambition to start a band. We talked about moments like tonight that will never leave our memory and then you offered for me to ride the bus to the next show. I had to decline as I needed to open my Sam Goody’s store the next morning, we laughed about making sure corporate America didn’t drag me down and then we parted ways. A memory engrained forever.

More than two decades later that moment still reminds me of the kindness that seeped from your heart. I was just a kid with stars in his eyes, you could’ve blown me off with a pick and a handshake and I would’ve worshipped at your feet forever, but you treated me with kindness that I never forgot. For a brief moment, we were equals on a couch, and if I didn’t know better, that’s exactly how you liked it. I never had a chance to talk with you again, although I would see you in various forms multiple times over, but I would sometimes wonder what that conversation would sound like. I chose to believe you would remember and we would have a laugh at what has become of Michael Petrelli and his ambitions. Did corporate America drag me down? Did I ever start that band? It doesn’t matter; it would be the laugh we shared that would stick with me anyways. I look forward to that talk. I say goodbye to you for now from that starry eyed boy and I hope that wherever you are, you are at peace.

Photo Credit: Mike Dziama