Zane from the Point of Pines, Revere

by Bill Brenner on September 23, 2010

I keep thinking of a kid from the Point of Pines who isn’t with us anymore. I’m not sure why this ghost is in my head, because we weren’t exactly friends.

Mood music:

The kid’s name was Zane. I believe the last name was Mead, though I’m not sure if there’s an E at the end. He was what you would picture as a classic stoner kid. I think he was on something every time I ran into him. He hung out with some of the tougher kids in the neighborhood. But he was never mean. Not to me, anyway.

In fact, I always detected a heart of gold inside him. Unfortunately, that heart of gold had a huge hole at its center and he tried to fill it with all kinds of substances. That’s what I remember, anyway.

I distinctly remember how, right after my brother died in 1984, he came by our house to pay his respects.

He lived in a very small house on Delano Ave., near my friend John Edwards. The neighborhood crazy lady lived at the other end of that street. Her name was Zelda. I always felt sorry for her, because she took a lot of ridicule and the fact of the matter was that the poor lady suffered from severe mental illness. Yesterday I wrote about how I was putting that term to rest and using “struggle” instead, but mental illness is the appropriate language in Zelda’s case.

Rumor has it she died of suicide, though I was never able to confirm that.

I used to see Zane walking the streets alone, looking lost. I guess he was. I remember how he’d stumble onto the school bus in the morning, cigarette hanging from his lips, and collapse into one of the very back seats.

I seem to remember him getting worse around 1988. That year, he went to the top of an apartment building off Shirley Avenue and dived off.

I keep thinking about what a waste that was, and it makes me sad.

I remember a lot of kids being torn up over his death. Understandable, especially given how his life ended. To this day, I’m convinced his death wasn’t one of simply giving up. I think he was just so sick at that point that he was no longer in control of his actions. I’m pretty certain that as he jumped from that roof, his real mind and soul wasn’t in there.

My friend Dan took the death hard. He and Zane used to be neighbors, and they were close.

What really sucks is that less than a decade later, Dan would have to experience another close friend taking his life. I never appreciated until recently what a nightmare that must have been for him. That latter suicide hit me like a knife, and I’ve written about it often in this blog. But Dan had to feel what I felt TWICE in his life. That he bounced back from that is a real testament to his inner strength.

Dan and I have been lucky. We’ve led different lives since Sean Marley’s death and fell out of touch until recently, thanks to Facebook. But we’ve led productive, rich lives full of music and children.

I like to think those experiences of loss helped us grow in ways that made us better people today.

I wish I had made the effort to know Zane back then. I doubt I would have been able to help him, especially with that shallow, 18-year-old brain I had at the time. But he seems like someone who would have been a good friend.

The heart was there.

His life ended early, but his days on this Earth were not a waste. I remember that his tight circle of friends really cared for him.

He did something to make them feel that way.

I hope that by writing about him here, I’m honoring his memory.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

JAIME September 24, 2010 at 4:32 PM

I THINK ABOUT ZANE ALL OF THE TIME. IT WAS A TERRIBLE TIME IN OUR LIFES LIVINGS DOWN THE PINES WAS NEVER THE SAME. I’M TRULY MOVED BY THE KIND WORDS YOU SAID ABOUT HIM. I CONSIDERED HIM A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE AND WISH HE WAS STILL HERE TODAY.

JAIME

nanjcsy November 15, 2010 at 3:40 AM

i have been doing a lot of thinking recently on the subject of suicide…especially as it pertains to those of us who struggle with addictions. a bit ago someone that i really looked to for inspiration within my AA groups drove his car onto the train tracks and died a very tragic death. no one knew why he did this. no one had any warning at all. he had many years of sobriety on him, a family that loved him, solid friendships and a good retirement. we have recently had some in our circle pass away thru overdose, old age and blatant suicide. we have had some others just plain relapse and have become ghosts of themselves and i am having trouble which i find harder to deal with..the permanent deaths or the ones who used to help me out on a bad day and now ask me for some change as they stare right thru me. sorry, i have nothing inspiring to add here..just needed to say this out loud and get it out of the dark corners of my head i guess. thanks for listening.

Michelle Ryan Haidaichuk January 7, 2011 at 9:51 AM

I was just thinking of Zane today and I googled him and found this site. Did we know each other? Zane meant a lot to me and
I always thought if I could go back and just talk to him that morning and tell him he was bigger than he knew I would still be able to see him today and tell him about my kids and laugh about old times. I miss him still.
Michelle Haidaichuk

Damon Butts November 21, 2011 at 6:31 PM

Hi Michelle,
Its been a long time. Great to see the memory of my good friend Zane Mead is remembered. I think of him often. He was always in a great mood. I can not remember him not getting along with anyone. Had some of the best times of my life with Zane. Miss him always!

Tammy Digan April 4, 2011 at 5:26 PM

Yesterday I woke up as I do any other day, however my mood was different. I found myself missing Zane very deeply. The way I felt, was as if he has just passed within the last few weeks. I cried and cried for him. It was as if he were calling out to me. Finally I decided to pay him a visit. When I arrived at the cemetary I parked in my usual spot and immediately began speaking to him as I walked to his grave. For whatever reason, I could not find him. Finally, it was starting to get cold as the sun was beginning to set. I was at the very back of the cemetary and had decided to make one last search and I would go in and out of each row this time. I had been here many times before, so I could not understand what the problem was, other than my blured vision from the tears. As I began my quest, I told Zane that this would be my last pass through because it was getting too cold out and I was beginning to lose hope on finding him and perhaps he did not want to be found and only remembered on this day. As I took the next corner, there was his headstone, just as I remembered it. Zane and I had a relatively lengthy conversation and a lot of tears were shed. Zane passed on April 8, 1988. He was one of the most honest and kind people I have ever known. He had an amazing ability to make you smile. You could not help but to love him. Thank you for you post, it has helped me to not have to mourn his loss alone. Even though it has been so long, I think this is one loss that will bring me to tears until the day I join him.

Tammy Digan

billbrenner1970 April 5, 2011 at 1:22 AM

Tammy, thanks for your note. I understand where you’re coming from. I often go through the same emotions over Sean Marley. When that happens, I think of all the joy in my life since his death, and it all gets better. Zane and Sean both connected me to people who are dear friends today. In that and many other ways, they live on. Those relationships are part of the joy I mentioned. God Bless you.

julie October 17, 2013 at 6:34 PM

DEAR BILLY,
I THINK THAT IT IS SO AWESOME, HOW YOU HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT THESE PEOPLE WHO WE ALL KNEW,
YOU HAVE SHARED SUCH KIND WORDS AND THOUGHTS AND I DO BELEIVE THAT DOES HELP.
AND ALSO WITH TJ HE REALLY WAS SUCH A KIND PERSON, THAT I CAN REMEMBER, THATS 25-30 YEARS AGO, MAY HE REST IN PEACE I WASNT AWARE OF HIS DADS PASSING,,, MAY GOD BRING COMFORT AND PEACE TO THIS FAMILY, AND SEND HIS ANGELS, TO HELP THEM DURRING THIS MOST DIFFICULT TIME
ITS AWESOME OF THE THINGS YOU HAVE DONE WITH YOUR LIFE, YOU HAVE BEUTIFUL SONS AND A BEUTIFUL WIFE,, MAY GOD BLESS YOU NEVER CHANGE. YOU ARE ONE OF GODS ABGELS DOING HIS WORK,, AND I DO BELEIVE BY YOU WRIITING ABOUT OTHERS, HELPS ALOT, TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS,
I HOPE ALL IS WELL,. TAKE CARE JULIE

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