Today was a surreal experience for me. Mainly because my oldest friend is going through something that is extremely hard for me to imagine and wrap my head around... she has lost her father, and I just can't even imagine what she must be going through. Her father was one of the most amazing and caring men I've ever known - and Stephanie along with her Mom, Linda, were Mike's whole world. He lived for them and loved them both unconditionally. Mike was also like another father to all of our friends in high school, and he treated all of us like his own kids. He had an infectous smile and a mischevious laugh... that would crack all of us up. He will certainly be missed by us all.
When I was in high school - a group of 8 of us spend all most all of our time together, and ironically most of that time was spent at Stephanie's house... not in the typical teenager style - we all loved hanging out with Mike & Linda just as much as we liked hanging out without parents around... Stephanie, Kimberly, Amanda (Apl), Nicole, Sam, Greg, Alberto, and I were always found either at the local Starbucks or at Stephanie's house just about anytime we weren't in school.
At any rate - when I got to the visitation tonight - Greg, Amanda, and Sam were there... which was such a neat thing to see... we all loved Mike and care about Stephanie enough to be there for her in her time of need. I haven't seen Sam or Amanda in several years... so it was amazing to see all three them... and I'll see them tomorrow morning too. At which time they'll get to meet the new light of my life, well for the last 6 years at least... but they'll finally get to meet John.
I know that this is extremely hard on Stephanie, but I am so glad that she's got such amazing friends out there... no matter what - we'll all be here to help her through this in whatever ways we can... and we all have great memories of Mike to share with her when she's ready.
Steph - we love you!! Here are a few pictures that I have of us from back in the "good old days"
This is me with Kimberly and Stephanie - we were roomates at Alabama.
Here is the only digital picture I have of Mike, this is when he took Stephanie & I to New York for Steph's birthday in 1998.
This is Stephanie and I in New York - this is one of my favorite pictures.