“We Come . . . And . . . We Go . . .”

buddahHappy Monday, All!.

With hoping you all had a great weekend, I also hope that those of you reading as well as your loved ones were safe in the snow storms that blanketed parts of the Northeastern part of the continental USA. Here in SoFlo, we welcomed Spring Breakers for the first real weekend, though some had arrived as early as last weekend. My weekend was fair as I shifted my focus from grieving the loss of a friend since childhood, Mr. Peter Zachary, to celebrating his life. Many of the people who know me … also know “Zack”, too … Peace be still.

There were nearly 25 years that had passed since our roads had re-converged. Some 10 plus years ago, I happened to be at a HEAT game with two other wonderful friends, Karen and Stephen Bozzone, from the church I attended at that time, Christian Life Center, and, as I walked in the crowded Arena during the game, I heard someone call my name. When I turned to see where the voice was coming from, I noticed a face that I hadn’t seen since Jr. High School in White Plains, NY. And here we were in Miami Florida attending the same basketball game. I must admit that I was struggling quite a bit at the time with one of my household demons of addiction, and, Karen and Steve always reached out to me even letting me stay with them for a while and treating me like a Christian brother. We, too, are still in touch though they have moved to North Carolina.

So, one set of loving friends who were always so kind reconnected me with another long time friend whose “side” I haven’t left until his passing last Friday night. Peter had been suffering from ALS, which is also known as the “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”, for a few years before it claimed his life. I remember one festive weekend, one like he and I often had since our meeting at the NBA basketball game, we were at the “Garlic Festival” in Del Ray Beach, FL and in addition to delicious foods and the fine reggae music of Ziggy Marley, we enjoyed the ambiance of the “great outdoors” that South Florida weather offers nearly year round. As we hustled back to the car, Peter and I were crossing a field of bustling people when suddenly I didn’t see him anymore. I heard his voice say something like “Damn!”, and when I followed the voice, I saw him on the ground. He had fallen, and, to my recollection, this was the first of many signs of his dwindling muscles and ability to stand firmly and move swiftly on his own two feet.

Peter’s passing has warranted his family, with whom I have spent numerous Thanksgiving Celebrations, Christmas and Chanukah dinners, New Year’s Celebrations and many many meals and festivities with including his son, his sisters, his daughter, his mother and his wife, to celebrate his life. Peter leaves hundreds of clients that he has served while working as the senior vice president for First Miami Securities aka FMS Bonds. This is the guy who got my mail from my post office box while I was incarcerated, put commissary monies in my account while I was there, and met me at a local McDonald’s at like 4am the morning I was released from my 7 month vacation in “the belly of the beast”, and I stayed with him for several months until able to get back on my feet! THIS is the kind of friend he has been to me – as well as to others whom I know and others whom I have met!

Keep your dear friends close, y’all, letting them know that you love them and appreciate them WHILE they are here … Don’t wait until it is too late … because we ALL come … and we ALL go … may you “Rest In Peace” while your family finalizes the “Celebration of Your Life” with all your friends, neighbors, clients and others who have had the pleasure of knowing you!

Love always,

John I. Cook, Director

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