Yesterday I learned that my cousin Piotrek had died in a car accident. A devastating news to my entire family, and especially so to his wife and his four-year-old son.
Growing up in Poland, we were the three musketeers: Piotrek, Krzysiek, and myself. Three sons of three sisters, each of us born a year apart: Piotrek in ’80, Krzysiek in ’81, and me in ’82.
But three is an odd number. You can’t pair a three. So we always ended up doubling up in some way against the remaining one. The things I remember doing back then seem funny now (like biting Piotrek really really hard for some reason), but I’m sure we were quite a lot to handle back then. We were all good kids, but together at my grandmothers Sunday dinner, we were a force to be reckoned with.
Many years later, after my family had moved to United States, Piotrek came by Los Angeles a couple of times to do some vacation work-n-travel. He worked long construction hours, but we also got to spend a lot of time together since after work we had nothing else to do but hang out. In some way, we made up a little for all those lost years that I lived half a world away.
Piotrek was usually the life of the party with a laugh that carried for miles. Everywhere he went there’d be someone he’d befriend right away, he had that charisma about him. Always ready with a quick joke…or to punch you in the face. Your choice.
After my move back to Poland we had a few good times together, but life got busy and we’ve seen each other less and less in the recent of times. It would have been a few months since I last saw him if it wasn’t for my grandmothers birthday dinner this last Sunday. Piotrek had just started a new job, was happy about landing that new sales position, we laughed and made jokes about me putting too much food on my plate, as always. That was Sunday. Today’s he’s gone. And tomorrow we get to say our final goodbyes.
Piotrek is survived by his wife Ania and son Antoś, his parents and sister, and all of us who will forever carry his laugh in our hearts.
Rest in peace buddy.