All help All
Each year at this time my thoughts seem to drift towards remembering Michael. Those thoughts were particularly strong this past weekend when I spent the weekend with Michael's oldest sister, Sandra. All around me were reminders of Michael. Even at night, I couldn't escape him because there next to me on the nightstand was a picture of him. I met Michael when I was 18. He was tall and tanned with long dark hair and mesmerizing green eyes. He told me I was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. A lie no doubt, but one coming from him that I always thought he might have meant since he never had an agenda with me. Ours was a relationship that never transcended platonic boundaries except for an occasional stolen kiss here and there. His whole family became close to me for various reasons and on many occasions I was caught up in the weird dynamics that governed their relationships with each other. 

When Michael joined the Marines, we wrote to each other and saw each other whenever he would come home on leave. We always seemed to drift in and out of each other's lives. Whenever I thought of him, I always did so with a smile. He was the sunshine that warmed so many people's lives. In our wild youth, his sister and I used to accompany him sometimes to the gay bars in Pensacola. What stories I could tell about those times, but what I remember most is the love I always carried with me for him. We danced those nights away pretending that I was a drag queen, so I wouldn't ruin his reputation! What a goofy pair of friends we were! As we got older and moved away from each other, like many friends we didn't keep in touch like we should. He remained in my thoughts as I'm sure I did with him. As Michael's health failed and the end was imminent, I finally called Michael to ask him to forgive me for not being a better friend. In his weak, barely audible voice he said he forgave me. Michael died on Mother's Day 2005 and while I watched them bury my friend, I knew another piece of me was gone forever.  

Gratitude statement: Although death is an inevitable, I'm truly thankful for the time all my friends have been a part of my life. 

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