When I was a little girl, I went to a fairy tale wedding. My cousin Kathy looked like Cinderella and the man she married had fallen in love with her at first sight. His name was John and known as ‘Crazy Johny’. He had wild black hair and a big laugh. He danced on tables, sometimes got into trouble and was known to disappear into the woods for days on end. He was intense….strong, fiercely loyal, always learning, positive and kind. He played hard and worked harder. That paid off. He had lots of friends, fun adventures and a beautiful house and family to come home to. His wife and their children were always the loves of his life.
A few years ago, my life changed. My Mom died suddenly. My Dad needed a lot of help. 2 of my 3 daughters left home. My business began to fail and eventually closed. It was a lonely and disorienting transition. I spent my down time playing Scrabble on the computer. I was surprised one day when my crazy cousin Johny challenged me to a game. That developed into a relationship that I will also be thankful for. He told me lots of stories that made me laugh and sometimes cry. Life through his eyes was a beautiful world to see. He let people be who they were. The ones he loved would always be loved, no matter what. He laughed, had fun and ate lots of good food. He was true to himself, his word and the people in his life. (there were many!).
I didn’t realize at first that he was battling a disabilitative disease though it was already into advanced stages. He didn’t allow his illness to define himself, his life or his relationships. Last week the illness claimed his life. It never claimed him.