Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A Butterfly Bush And Spaghetti Dinner To Honor My Dear Friend, Bill

My morning routine is fairly simple. Get up at between 3:30 - 4 a.m. Make Lisa's work lunch and a hot breakfast. Prepare a cup of coffee for her to sip when she gets up and the coffee she takes to work in her travel mug. Make myself a cup of coffee. Head to our Home Office to begin my work day. When Lisa gets up at 4:30, I pour her coffee and we begin the morning routine with our kids. This morning, that routine was shattered a bit.

Less than 5 minutes after signing on to my laptop, I learned that my dear old friend, Bill, had passed away in the wee hours of the morning.

The news took my breath away. The tears immediately started flowing. Bill and I had just emailed each other a few days ago.

I just sat there. Shocked.

Bill and I met about 10 years ago. I was working as a remote employee for a major media company. I was a content coordinator and blogger for their online deal and coupon site.

Bill had utilized the "contact us" during one of my shifts. He wanted to make a purchase but couldn't figure out how to use the online coupon. His request for assistance was playfully sassy. At the time, he was in his mid-60's and wasn't tech savvy.

After about 12 witty email exchanges back and forth, Bill was able to use the coupon. He thanked me for my patience and for not treating him like an old doofus.

That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Over the past decade, we have exchanged frequent emails. Cards. Letters. The occasional gifts. We've chatted on the phone. We've had many lengthy verbal and written chats about gardening, life, how things were "way back when" versus now, family, world happenings, work, hobbies, the friends who have come and gone, etc

Bill always kept up with my daily life on Facebook whether it was my personal Facebook page or, down the road, our Bodacious Biscuit Love and Our Bodacious Dog Mom Life Facebook page. He'd leave comments and private message me. He always read my blogs.

I received an email from Bill last week. In his email, he said that he wanted to know firsthand why I retired from tutoring.

Bill always wanted to know the "everything" beyond what I shared on Facebook and my blog columns. Of course, he knew that "everything" meant not breaching my utmost respect for confidentiality.

I wrote a lengthy email back on Friday and told him I'd "answer his question in the next email as it was a story for a rainy day..." That was our thing. We always had those stories that we saved for the proverbial rainy day.

Sadly, I didn't know that would be our last correspondence.

Right now, that's ripping me to shreds.

My eyes are swollen and they sting from crying.  I haven't gotten much work done today. Just when I think I've composed myself, the tears start flowing again.

The kids know their Mommy is sad. They've been glued to my side all day. Throughout the day, I laid on the bed with them. They snuggled close to me. Coco licked my face.

This afternoon, when Lisa got out of work, she stopped at Home Depot to buy a butterfly bush to plant in Bill's memory. Bill was an avid gardener like myself. He loved his flowers, veggies, birds, and butterflies.

For dinner, we had spaghetti and garlic bread to honor Bill as well. I have a photo of Bill with his 2 cousins at a spaghetti dinner. He was the cook. Bill was famous for his fundraising dinners and gatherings.

And, his damn overalls. 

Bill was a great man. Honorable. Wise. He had a zest for life that was contagious and an impeccable sense of humor. He was well known in his community and loved by many. He loved to joke around and laugh. On Bill's Facebook wall, someone said, "If you weren't having fun, Bill would give you some of his..."

I am going to miss you so much, Bill. But, one of these days, we'll meet again and I'll tell you that story I was saving for a rainy day...

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