The Best of Friends

My best friend is my wife. That should go without saying and yet needs to be said. If you are married, your best friend should be your spouse. If not, why are you married? What do you think marriage is?

Of course my wife has not always been my best friend. Once upon a time that title belonged to a wonderful man named Patrick Grady. One time he went with us on a family vacation to The Smokies (before we realized that we could just move there). The second night he took my girls out on the town in Gatlinburg so Jen and I could have some alone time. The picture above commemorates that event.

I’m posting this today because my best friend Patrick died on 9/11. No, not the national tragedy of 9/11/2001 but, for me, the very personal tragedy of 9/11/2006. Back in 2003, Patrick was diagnosed with advanced colorectal cancer at the age of 38 and given a three-year prognosis.

He fought long and hard with many operations, chemo, and radiation therapies but did not outlast his prognosis. We would sit and watch movies every month when I made the nine hour trip down to Florida – sometimes at his home, if not then I would bring a player to the hospital and camp out. The nurses were so wonderful about letting me ‘sleep’ in the chair in his room.

His favorite movies were ones about superheroes. He actually managed to go out with me twice in the few months before he passed to see X-Men: The Last Stand and Superman Begins. I know it’s silly but I always regret that he didn’t get to see The Dark Knight or Iron Man or Thor or The Avengers. Every year the list gets longer.

The last meals Pat was able to enjoy were my beloved father-in-law’s homemade pizza fests. Sadly my father-in-law too passed away from cancer after a courageous six year battle. I am sorry to realize that getting older means losing the people you love.

Every year I take the 11th of September off and spend it watching the superhero movies Pat would have loved to have seen. Domino’s is no substitute for my father-in-law’s pizza but it will have to do.

I miss you Pat