True friends are few and far in between, which makes losing them to death even more difficult. Four years ago, I lost my dear friend, Lee Weisbrod, to Mother Nature – a lightning strike. The hardest thing about losing a friend is not recalling the memories nor is it longing to hear their voice. Perhaps the hardest thing about losing a friend is keeping a sense of calm while maintaining your friend’s memory and re-adjusting the friendship. Death ultimately does not claim a friendship – it changes it. That in itself is a lesson that took me years to realize and ultimately accept.
Recently, my father lost his best friend Paul Hanley. The two were best buds since childhood and all throughout their adult lives. Literally The Best Man in my father’s life, Paul died from a long fought battle with cancer – one I am proud to say he fought well. While my father and Paul were separated most of their adult lives by a minimum of six hours by car, the two chatted on the phone from time-to-time and even shot back a text message or two most recently. (Yes, my dad is a beginner in the texting world!)
I’m sure my father has lost some people in his 48 years of life; however, this loss does not compare. It is a loss I know well…
This weekend, my family and I will be making the drive to Maine to say our final goodbye to Paul as he enters his final resting place. For his sake, I hope there is a Harley Davidson, some pretty women and dogs that need rescuing awaiting his arrival.
RIP PAUL JOSEPH HANLEY
02.07.62 – 08.21.10