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God works in mysterious ways.  Jeff and I were sitting at Backo’s Pub just six months ago.  We were having a few beers, which we did every Saturday afternoon together, talking about sports, politics and our lives.  Then the subject of death came up. 

As Jeff normally did, he joked around about his own mortality.  He said something that will stay in my mind for a long time.  He said, you know Kev, I probably won’t make it much longer.  I’ve lived too much, too hard.  Too many cigarettes and too many beers.  My poor body is just going to shut down.  We both smiled and started to chuckle a bit, not really believing what he said.  Six months later, here we are, minus one.  Jeff gone from our lives because of a heart attack.  I still can’t believe he is gone.

 There are only a handful of people who come into your world, and touch your life in a dramatic fashion.  Some of the people are just flickers of light during a long life, while others are consistent glows for years.  For me, Jeff was my consistent glow.  He was my best friend for close to 35 years.

I was never really close to my immediate family.  I had a few friends growing up, but those were mostly childhood playmates.  I decided to attend college in the fall of ’70, hoping to begin a new and exciting chapter in my life.  I was going to room with my cousin, who I knew a little bit, mostly from family reunions and stuff. 

After about a week, I met Jeff.  We hit it off immediately.  We started hanging out with the same group of guys.  We did the normal college thing, parties, drinking, girls, and more parties.  We managed to fit studying in there somehow. 

I remember feeling so comfortable around him.  I had never experienced that before with other friends.  I felt like I could tell him anything, like he was the brother I never had.  For the first time, there was a consistent figure in my life, which I could turn to for friendship and support.

That friendship and support continued for the next 35 years.  We both found jobs in the same area, and raised our families together.  My wife and I were the godparents of his children and Jeff and Sue were the godparents of our two daughters.  We shared some wonderful times together.  I will never forget them.

I can honestly say that there are only a few people who have walked into my life and changed it forever.  My wife, two lovely daughters, and Jeff.  He gave me the first opportunity to open up to somebody.  He was the first person I enjoyed spending time with.  He was my first friend.  He taught me that life is short, and the most important part of life is the people in it.  I will be grateful for his teachings forever.

To his family, Amanda, Nancy, Beth, and Jack, I love you as if you were my own.  In many ways you are.  I want you to know that my family and I will be there for you in this difficult time.  We will help ease the suffering that you are going through. 

Jeff, I love you.  I miss you.  Your family is in good hands.  You have graced my life more than you will ever know.  God bless.        

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