in the end, so many people from all around the world want to say goodbye to our friend that we’ve now changed from planning a wake to a full on memorial. while it’s the right thing to do, given his position in his church, his company, the community it feels so large and unlike manny that susie and the kids have opted for a small private family and chosen family funeral service this weekend. and the larger memorial will be in mid-june.
i watch in awe and admiration of susie and her strength and compassion for all of those that mourn the loss of her otp. her call, this decision just further solidifies for us, the remaining three, that she was, is and always will be manny’s number one for a reason.
the remaining three – dave, gary and me have spent more time with one another in the last week or so than we have over the course of the last 12-years or so. while the circumstances that have us circling one another’s orbits is beyond tragic, it’s also been a catalyst for conversations long left unfinished and reflections on the impact we have all had on one another over the course of our friendships. yet for all of that, you don’t always know someone as well as you may think. case in point, as we were going through manny’s treasures as susie liked to tease him, we came across an old picture the four of us had taken the first year we all started working together. i had convinced them that going downtown for lunch and posing with santa in the large corner window display of the famous department store would be fun. bitching and moaning the entire way i dragged them into town and placated them as we waited in line with all of the mommies and young children for what seemed like forever. however, the resulting photos were hysterically funny, endearing and blackmail material for many years. so there , in manny’s chest was the most holiday like shot of us and santa. smiling, flushed, young. attached to it was the article manny had written for his alma mater just 5-6 years ago in which he talks about his life since graduation and the most influential people that gifted him with unconditional friendship. what?! he chose us, his comrades in arms over everyone before us and the heady list of dignitaries since us?! really?
one of us asked susie why he didn’t tell us? and she just nodded with this little smile of hers and simply said “because he didn’t want it to go to your heads”. we all burst out laughing before the laughter turned to tears. tears of every emotion possible. laughing and crying susie spoke up again “no. really, how could you guys not know he would have chosen you? as for the article, well you know manny, he was worried it would look as if he was bragging about more press if he forwarded it around.” of course he would, because that was manny.