The news was exciting: our friends Frank and Sharon had won the lottery to select a lot on which to build their dream retirement home. Within months the beautiful residence was ready for them to host family and friend get-togethers and prepare for upcoming retirement.
Although happy for their good luck, I mourned their move from our neighborhood. But we have cars. We are retired and have time. We can see them just as often, we reasoned.
We had to decline their invitation to dinner that year, promising to meet up sometime soon. Then COVID hit. We have yet to see their new home.
Now Frank will not be there. Although he was not a victim of COVID, our mourning of his loss was. His death came as one of several close friends this past year. There were no hugs. Tears were shed in seclusion. Unable to share stories, we relied on our personal memory. We mourned in isolation.
But let me write about Frank.
Always pleasant, positive, ready with a witty comeback, he added to the spirit of our group that had planned graduation night festivities many years ago and continues to meet today.
He was father to his children and step-children alike. He coached our boys in sports with a calm and humorous hand.
He was ready to accept a spontaneous invitation to go out for happy hour or dinner, greeting me with a bear hug whenever I saw him.
His suggestion to meet at Top Golf, however, went unfulfilled. I think of him every time we go there.
As I bemoaned that I needed a hip replacement, I was aware of the irony of complaining to one who had endured multiple orthopedic surgeries. With a smile he preached, “just get it.”
To be honest, I think we were close on our personal counts of surgeries.
I looked forward to seeing Frank and Sharon in their new home. But the news came of a glioblastoma. Having lost family and clients to that diagnosis, I knew the prognosis was grim.
Sharon reports that Frank kept up his positive spirit to the end, easing and exacerbating his family’s own pain.
Frank was one of the good ones, gone too soon from a world that needs people like him.
It is meant to be comforting to say that he lives in our memory. The reality is that he isn’t here, and our hearts are broken.