Posted by: sistermom1 | January 28, 2013

Tom Frank

A very good friend of mine died this week. In fact, Tom was my best, dearest, longest white male friend since grade school when I had a crush on a French classmate in third grade — before race began to matter — or even be anything that I noticed. There was also a white guy who I dated when I was in my 20’s. We had a great time together, but it was not to last.

I met Tom 20 years ago in a corporate leadership class. Over the course of 9 months, we became fast friends. Close enough that many of our colleagues accused us of dating. Now, Tom had a girlfriend who lived in a different city at the time. Eventually she became his wife and the mother of his two lovely children, and a good friend of mine too.

Tom and I met before marriage, children, professional success and tremendous health challenges came to both of us.Through the ups and downs of life, Tom provided consistent, loving, supportive friendship to me and to members of my family. Tom was a young, cranky, sarcastic, brilliant, caring, irreverent man. I often referred to him as our own Matt Lauer, cause that is what he looked like. He loved deeply — his family, friends and clients all meant a great deal to him and he showed that regularly. Tom was a fast friend. He had become a savvy financial investor who managed portfolios for high net worth individuals across the region. Despite his reknown miserliness, he even lent me money once when I was still single and irresponsible. (Very happy to say that I did pay him back!)

Tom spent the past 5 years managing and learning from the diagnosis and treatment of lymphoma. Despite that (treatments, experiments, etc.) he always had time for me to share whatever I was going through/talk about my health and what was going on with me.
Not surprisingly, he left his family financially set, and was able to spend the last day of life with all of them. He said all that needed to be said to them. According to his wife, Tom was still organizing things in the days immediately before he died. He was always in charge and there were no suprises at the end. He died the day after he said goodbye to a few close friends and his family. What a tremendous gift.

As I write this I realize that the universe did give me another gift — the friendship of another man named Tom who I met through a different corporate leadership training class in 2005. How fortunate for me! It is amazing to develop that kind of friendship as a adult. I will always cherish that connection (our friendship/our families), and having a sarcastic, cranky, brilliant Jewish angel on the other side is very encouraging to me.

Tom, I do miss you, and I feel very fortunate to have had the honor of being your friend. Thank you so much for the gift of your friendship. As my journey continues on the physical plane and yours continues on the spiritual one, please know that I will never forget you and will always appreciate you and your beautiful family.

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