11/4/14, approx. 9:35 pm
I don’t often post things like what is about to follow, usually more pragmatic and stoic in my public offerings, however, while I was in the shower, finally braving the coldness of the room and reflecting on my life in general and a bunch of other minuscule and inconsequential things – the things with which we all must deal at many points in our lives, I realized that there is one thing I had never voiced aloud so here goes.
I have the four best kids in the world. That’s right. My four boys, 2 biologic and two step – doesn’t matter, they are all my boys, are each vibrant, successful adults. They are all productive members of society, they are reasoned, considerate and respectful of not only one another, but of humanity in general. I don’t know for sure how I got so lucky, especially after hearing so many horror stories by other parents about their trials and sadness with their children, I think, How the Hell did we Get so Lucky. By we, I mean Marcia too. She was there the whole time and watched them all grow into the amazing people they are today. She got to see them at their individual and collective best. I’m glad for that. And, I’m more than happy that the four are so damn good at the simple art of being great human beings. Thanks guys for being you.
Note from Andrea: I promised Pete a few years ago that when he passed away, I would make sure to post his Afterward and to write a few words for him. When he asked me, I sort of brushed it off, saying of course I would do it but surely it wouldn’t be needed for at least a couple decades or so. Unfortunately, Pete was right to ask me to be ready, providing a gentle reminder about it every six months or so.
Pete was one of my closest friends. We met when he was the editor for The Baynet and he gave me my first “real” writing job. We became fast friends, writing mentor and protege, and eventually left The Baynet together to pursue new avenues.
When Pete was still on the East Coast, we spent many hours together over my homemade omelets and Pete’s favorite beer, Miller Lite. Once he decided to retire and move to Florida, Pete met up with me to bestow his leather bound volumes of “The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night.” I thanked him and placed the books in my car. When I turned around to say goodbye, he muttered “what the hell,” grabbed me and kissed me on the lips. I blinked in shock as he simply smiled and waved, got in his car and drove away.
We spent the next few years corresponding through Facebook messenger and email (though we did meet up for lunch one day and for an evening of several beers last year when he came back for a visit) and we sent each other our projects to edit. Pete created a new genre called “Literary Comics” and he pumped out books almost faster than I could read them. He had found his true calling as a writer and had reached that happy, satisfied place most writers only dream about.
The last time we corresponded was the day before he died. I was feeling blue, depressed about my writing and missing my husband, and I posted a few links on Twitter about depression. Right away Pete messaged me asking me what was wrong. I told him, and he made it his mission to cheer me up, telling me he loved my story he was in the middle of editing and engaging me in our usual banter until I stopped feeling sorry for myself. The last thing he wrote to me (before signing off with our usual “l8r”) was:
“Anytime you are feeling down in the dumps let me know and we’ll solve the world’s problems together. You know they keep popping up.”
I’ll miss you more than I can say, my friend, and I know that there are so many other people you inspired and lifted up when they needed it most. The world is a better place because you were in it.