This week, I lost a friend. Not a close friend, but a friend none-the-less. I don’t know all the particulars around his death, I just know that he died surrounded by his family who loved him more than they can fully express. George was 59 years old. Father to two beautiful boys and grandfather to a slew of kids. Brother to a beautiful sister who idolized him. His ex-wife Julie was his best friend and had been since they were 19-year-old kids hanging out at the beach. They were all with him at the end. No one expected this! It was way too soon!
When you lose someone in their prime, even maybe just a little past their prime, especially when the circumstances are murky, it causes you to pause and take stock. George was an amazing man! I knew that just by knowing him! But, as I’ve chatted with his sister, his ex-wife and many of our friends these past few days, I am made aware of just how truly amazing this man really was.
George came out later in life and it is a true testament to the man that his ex-wife remained his best friend who didn’t miss a day without talking to him. It is a testament to the man that he was a hero to his boys. He was honest with people but not a jerk about it. He was who he was and you couldn’t help but love him for it. He was a friend to everyone! He didn’t participate in the gossip sessions that happen all around us. He was kind to everyone! The guys who lived downstairs from him were a bit sketchy, but George won them over with home-cooked meals. He helped those who were less fortunate. George made the most out of life and while he valued other people’s opinions, he didn’t let others theories of how he should live move him from the direction he knew he was suppose to be headed and force him to be anything other than true to himself all the while showing love and respect. It didn’t hurt that he had an amazing smile, the ability to knock back a stiff cocktail at any hour of the day and a knack for a twisted joke ever so often.
This new year is just getting started. As y’all know, I laid out some goals for this year. Perhaps though, the most important goals in my life are the ones I’ve learned from George. Be honest with myself and with those around me. Don’t let other people’s opinions work to sway me from being true to who I am. Be kind to everyone because you never know what is going on behind the facade that every one of us put up. Help those less fortunate. Smile a lot! Know how to knock back a wicked cocktail and, yeah, have a twisted joke up my sleeve for when the moment calls for!
I’m glad that one day I met a man named George! His example helped make me a better person! George, wherever you are, whatever sea you are sailing across, I pray you’ve got one hand planted one someone’s firm ass and the other holding a stiff cocktail! You deserve it my friend!