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For my friend...

I am sad. I don't want to be, but this is how it is when people die.

I knew you were sick, but who expects a man under 50 to just die -- even if you're battling cancer? And I just found out a couple of months ago. I didn't even have time to live with the idea...much less get to a place where I could accept you dying. I'm still not there.

Yet, as I open my eyes to a world you're no longer in, I don't have a choice in the matter. You're gone, and there's nothing I can do about it.

So many memories flood my mind...

The interview, when you asked me if I could work full-time in the summer and switch to part-time in the fall. I told you, "Sure, if I could move in with you. You seem nice, but I really don't know if we need to live together so soon." We both cracked up, and I knew we'd be friends.

After I got the job, I was scared to death at the thought of teaching kids about my passion. But you were confident I could do it...and you did your best to help me. I'm sure you went home many days questioning your decision to hire me -- heck, I know I did -- but you always put on a brave front with me.

When Granny died, you were so sweet to me. Since you'd lost your father, you knew what I was going through, and you handled me gently. In retrospect, I'm so glad I was working with you when it happened because I don't know if I could've made it anywhere else.

More than anything, our conversations are running through my mind. So many laughs we shared...and secrets. Both mine and yours. Because we liked the same type of things, I'd run into you all over the place. I had hoped to run into you again.

But that won't happen now because you've taken your leave of us. And it hurts me more than I want it to.

Rest in peace, dear friend.

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