Today I lost a very, very dear friend.
Just yesterday I was told he was going into hospice.
It was all way too quick.
He was only 62.
He was a great family friend who I have known for more than 20 years beginning back in Michigan.
Back in my (much) younger days, my mom, dad and I often went out to dinner with him and his wife on Friday nights. They did not have any children...I was sort of their pseudo-child.
He was the funniest and most amazing person ever...I remember he would fold dollar bills into rings - to wear on your hands - the number part of the bill would be right in the middle of the ring. As a teen, you would think I would not want to go to dinner w/my parents and their friends...but I ALWAYS wanted to go when it was dinner with this couple. They both had such a special place in my heart, but I must confess that this was especially the case for Mike. I just thought he was 'the cat's meow' ...making me laugh, being silly and always making me feel special.
Throughout my late 20s and 30s I had very little contact with them...no reason really...just life being busy I suppose and I was moving all over the country. They had since retired and moved from Michigan down to Florida.
When mom, Ethan and I went down to FL for the Princess 1/2 last year, we stayed one night with them. I was soooooooooo excited to see them both after all these years. It was a great time and he was just as fun as ever...but I really noticed how he had aged. It worried me.
I say that because about 20 years ago he had a massive heart attack, coded and was brought back...so the years since then have held many health issues for him, although you would NEVER know it from how he presents himself...always so joyful.
Two weeks ago he got pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital. When he got out of ICU and into a regular room I was able to call him and I am SOOOO glad I did....I never thought that it would be the last time I ever would talk to him. In fact, I had just mentioned to my mom wanting to drive down to their house for Spring Break as they had invited me to stay there any time...I thought it would be the perfect getaway for Ethan and I. :(
My mom and her husband spent a couple nights at their house recently and celebrated ringing in the new year with them. My mom failed to let me know they had arrived safely so when she finally called me, I spoke with both Mike and his wife...on New Year's Eve. Mike's wife told me that Mike has always thought I was "the bees knees"(or some other similar phrase...can't remember exactly what she said)...anyway since that was pretty much how I felt about him, it was great to hear that from her. I don't even know how to express the feelings I had for him...love, but a special kind of love...there was no one else like him. I am so crushed that I will never see him again...and I'm trying to remember and be grateful for the chance of seeing him last March.
I am also so so sad for Mike's wife right now...I can't imagine how she must feel. Maybe Ethan and I will still go down and visit with her if possible...it would be hard but I'm sure she would love visitors.
I was driving when my mom told me the devastating news today...between tears and rain, I'm probably lucky that I made it to my destination in one piece.
2011 continues to disappoint. Big time.