I should feel…something. But what I feel is…numb. I just never pictured a world without my friend in it. And so I denied the possibility. And I believed he would be the one-in-a-million story.
But he wasn’t. Not in that way.
No, Vern Foster was a one-in-a-million story in the way that he lived. In the example he set. In the way he could tell a joke, or make you feel welcome, evenif you hadn’t seen each other for months. In the way he did business – honest, generous (often to a fault), with a standard for old-fashioned customer service that you just cannot find.
He was a gentle leader, willing to stand his ground for what he believed was right and fair and just. And even if you opposed him, you still respected him, because you knew this was a man of honor.
And he was my friend. He saw a man, struggling through the highs and lows of a debilitating mental illness, and rather than judge him, he offered him friendship , and fellowship, and love, standing by him through the good times and the bad, when others felt a need to keep a distance.
I could never imagine a world without my friend. But today, as the sun rose here in Miami, it did so on just such a reality.
Rest in peace, my friend. You taught me many lessons. Time for me to fly solo, I guess.