March 11, 1996 at 12:03 AM my water broke in our NYC apartment and my adventure in motherhood began. Just a year before on March 11, 1995 I was dangling my feet in a groovy mid-century modern hotel pool in Ft. Lauderdale, drink in hand…continuing the celebration of my bestie’s wedding. Great location, friends, lots of drink…and a bride and groom who were so lovely together you did not question the match for a minute. One of those weddings where everyone was happy and their beautiful life ahead was not in question.
March 11, 2021, early morning, feeling a bit blue about not seeing my son on his 25th birthday, but thankful for a Zoom celebration later in the day, I get to work. The morning explosion of texts from my girl friends started popping up. Happy Birthday to Jacob, Happy Birthing Day, miscellaneous stuff, then…then from my Lisette, today is our 26th wedding anniversary. I am not great about remembering other people’s wedding anniversaries, even if they had the best wedding ever, and there are no handy FB reminders. This wedding anniversary, this one really counted…because Lisette was taking care of John 24/7 as he neared the end of his life. He was at home and they were at the waiting stage. All that needed to be said, had been said…it has been six years since his late-stage cancer diagnosis. All therapies traditional and non had been tried. Now they were just waiting for his beautiful strong body to let go.
Lisette is my sister from another mister. Often mistaken for the same person when we lived together after college in Peter Cooper Village, we were known as “the one who bakes”, or “the one who chats with everyone”. I was the baker. I was on the verge of marriage. Lisette was in a relationship with a less than worthy gentlemen…who in the end moved on…to prefer gentlemen. Then she met John. He worked as a bellhop while looking for a creative job, living in a closet-sized apartment on the Lower East Side above a fish store. He did it the hard way…on his own…and he was a complete success. John was the salt of the earth and was head-over-heals in love with Lisette, and for that I loved him.
John. The nicest guy in the room, the best smile….the giggle. Always there to teach me about music or this weird new thing called the internet. Most of what he said went WAY over my head, he always saw it in my eyes and would giggle saying you have no idea what I am talking about do you? Then he would break it down.
John. My brother Fred had decided to enter a radio contest. The contestant who best promoted the station K-Rock would win $25,000. Greg filmed Fred all over Manhattan…parades, NYC Marathon, Morning TV shows, rush hour at Grand Central…they were everywhere. Fred dressed as “the K-Rock superhero” (wearing shorts, a cape, a curly wig, and a shaved K…of chest hair) greeting people as they went about life. After viewing the nightly footage my thought was, this needs a really good editor…you need John. And of course, John came through, he edited the hours of footage and put it to amazing music. He patiently taught my husband the magic of storytelling through editing. And in a shock to us all…largely due to John’s goodness and talents…they WON. Swoon.
March 11, 2021, early evening, Greg and I are chatting about Lisette and John and their situation when a bing comes in. John just passed away in my arms.
Full circle, full heart, full closed shape of your choice…their beginning as a married couple and him departing this earth in her arms…on the same day.
March 11th…their souls connected forever.
2 thoughts on “Bitter Sweet”
Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute of John! I am one of his aunts (Kathi’s sister). I was not able to attend John and Lizette’s wedding and it has been many years since I’ve seen them and their sweet boys. He was a good man and will be deeply missed. God Bless!
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I am sorry for your loss, he was a dear man indeed!