Two weeks ago I lost one of the best friends I’ve ever had. It was a sudden and unexpected loss. Pete was only 45. I’d known him for over 20 years, and in that time you could never ask for a better friend. The world is truly emptier without him in it. My friends and I were devastated by the news, as we had just seen him earlier in the week. Nothing seemed amiss. Life has a way of ripping the rug out from under you though.

We spent the week after Pete died in mourning. We all reached out to one another via text to make sure we were holding up. This loss hurts us all very deeply. Pete was an exceptional human being. However we wouldn’t let our sadness stop us from celebrating who he was. So last Saturday night we threw our late friend an Irish Wake, a hooley to celebrate his life.

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As the week began and the planning started, the celebration started small but eventually exploded. We soon had his friends from Pete’s childhood, former classmates, former coworkers, acquaintances, friends, and best friends planning to attend. The owner of the bar we all hung out at closed it to the public so we could begin our celebration at 6:00pm. The celebration lasted all evening. Everyone traded stories about Pete and what he meant to each of us.

There were tears, but more importantly there was laughter. We all ate way too much food, we all imbibed and toasted our friend, and we all made each other feel a little better, at least for a short while. Pete was far too young to die, and he was far too tremendous a person to have lost. However he is gone now. He’s not on vacation, he’s not on a job assignment out of state. Pete has passed away. It’s ok to come to grips with this. It’s also ok to mourn his loss and be angry that he’s not with us anymore.

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I will miss my friend Pete. I, as well as many others, loved him like a brother. He will never be too far from my thoughts. Pete’s passing has left a hole, but we can fill that hole every day with laughter and the memories of all that we did over the past twenty-plus years.

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Goodbye Pete.