This past week I was forced to say goodbye to someone very dear to me. Reggie Swain passed away just over a week ago. His service was this past Thursday. I told a mutual friend that I didn’t want to be there, because being there made it real … it meant he was really gone.
Reggie and I had been friends for well over 20 years. I’d known this man for over half of my life. He was a best friend, a partner in crime, a brother. I have this tremendous sense of loss that I can’t shake. I was not ready to let go. I don’t think any of us were.
I met Reggie when I was just out of college. I started working at MACESS (now Sungard) in 1996. Reggie and I were both programmers and his desk sat right beside mine. He was my first friend at MACESS, introducing himself immediately and we hit it off. I can remember he would sit in his cube and look over at me and say, “How’s it going, Small Fry?”
I would give anything to hear him say that again.
He had this huge high-back chair that he would sit in backwards and lean over the back of it to work on his coding. Sometimes after lunch, he would lean back in that very same chair and doze off. Every now and then, you’d hear a light snore coming out of his cube. Sometimes someone would just walk by and sit him upright, and he’d carry on right where he left off.
We often spent our lunches together, riding around various parts of Birmingham, exploring new back roads and getting lost. If the weather was nice, we’d sit outside Johnny Rockets talking about life, love, work, anything and everything. My mother met us for one of these lunches, and Reggie quickly won her over. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love him immediately.
We went to Alabama games together, or gathered at a bar to watch football if neither of us could get tickets. We’d go club hopping on the weekends with friends from work. Hell, I even tried to hook him up with a few of my goth friends from Sacrament. :)
He became the older brother I never had (and sometimes never wanted). He was the most generous and loving person I have ever met in my entire life. He was an honest man. I’m talking blunt; he would tell you exactly like it is straight up. He didn’t see any sense in sugar-coating things or being dishonest for any reason. That in itself was a kindness because he only laid into you about something if it was for your own good. There were times that he would let me know in a heartbeat that he loved me but wasn’t having any of my shit.
He was the bravest soul. Constantly in pain due to dialysis, yet he would never let on when he was hurting. One of the times I had gone to see Reggie in the hospital, I had just separated from my ex-husband, and he was more concerned about how I was doing than himself! Dude is sitting in a hospital bed with all manner of things hooked up to him, and he’s worried about me. Asking how I’m doing!
That was Reggie. ♥
There’s so many stories I have to share, but right now it hurts too much. So I’ll leave this here for now. Goodbye, my brother. I love you. I miss you.
Reginald D Swain
April 10, 1971 ~ July 27, 2018
Reginald Dewayne Swain was born in Sylacauga Alabama on April 10, 1971 and raised in Childersburg, Alabama. He attended Childersburg High School and graduated in 1989. He attended University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama where he obtained a bachelors degree in computer science and programming in 1996, during school he marched in the UA Million Dollar Marching Band. He also worked for NASA for 2 years where he helped develop the space station launched in to orbit later that year. After graduation he was a program developer at Sungard.
He was proceeded in death by his late grandparents Aline Swain, kitchen John, Molly B Wilson, and Charles Wilson. His late father Richard (Pete) Wilson and his aunts Dora D. Williams and Sadie P. Burns. And his two uncles Etho Mark and John Lewis.
He leaves behind his mother Ella Mae Swain of Childersburg, Alabama; his loving ex-wife Andrea Carico, and a step son Tanner Carico, of Knoxville, TN. Two brothers Richard Dontae Norris of Bibb, Al, Richard Demong Milliner of Weaver, Al; one sister Deidra Milliner of Goodwater, AL. Three aunties Mary Swain Whetstone of Childersburg, AL; Shelia (Marcus) Garrett of Alpine, Alabama; Lucille (Jimmy) Chambliss of Childersburg, Alabama; Shirley Ferril of Birmingham, Al; Gaye (Charles) Calhoun of Wichita, KS; and his uncles Jerry Swain of Jacksonville, NC; Jackie (Gwen) Swain of Palm Coast, FL; Willie Ray (Dot) Wilson of Sylacauga, Al; John Wilson of Atlanta, Georgia; Charles Wilson of Sylacauga, AL; and a variety of family and dear friends.