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A Letter to Dear Friends

Saturday, July 9, 2011
I spent this past week at the beach with my children and my dear friends that live in Sidney, Australia.  They bought a beach house in Alabama and came over for a three week holiday to stay in their new vacation home during their kids school break.  We planned several months ago to spend one of those weeks with them while they were in the states.  We have had countless vacations together as couples and as families over our 23 year friendship.  I have lost count how many times they have moved, but, in spite of the moves, our friendship has remained and only gotten stronger through the years.  When the four of us were together, there was always constant great conversations and dreaming about our future together.  We would laugh until we cried and cry when there was pain, like when Nanette's daddy died 12 years ago.  This was our first trip together without Michael.  I knew it was going to be hard.  I knew there were going to be lots of tears, as they would have the freedom to grieve with me after having been separated from me since the week after the funeral.  We mourned the loss together this week.  We cried countless tears together... hard cries.  We talked about how we all had a paradigm shift on the way we viewed our lives and God's plan for our lives... and how we really don't know about tomorrow, we only have today.  Our first nice dinner that we sat down to eat together turned out to be almost unbearable.  Nice music playing, good food that we had just prepared, wine, and dinner with.... just the 3 of us.  Michael's absence was piercing our hearts with every strained word, when finally we could not bear it anymore and we all just broke down and cried, held hands, and hugged until there were no tears left.  No words needed to be spoken.  I wrote this letter to them from their back balcony one day while watching them play tennis with Michael Anthony and their daughter, Micah.  It served as my thoughts, my blog for the day and my feelings that I was experiencing the whole time I was with them this week without Michael.  With their permission, I am posting the letter so that I can keep my feelings and questions about life and death all in one place.  I am blessed to have them in my life and to call them my friends.  Peter & Nanette,  I will miss you greatly until we see each other again.

Dear Peter and Nanette,

This is very surreal being on a Barranco -Slover family vacation without Michael here to join in on the laughs, the fellowship, the food, and the great times that come with good friends.  It is hard not to feel the weight of his absence at every moment of the day.  As I sit here watching the two of you and Michael Anthony and Micah play tennis, I am taken back to one of the many memories of the four of us spending great times together.  Remember playing doubles one afternoon while we were in the Bahamas together?  Michael was the rookie but kept up with all of us just fine… no matter how he hit the ball, he put all of his hulk-like strength behind it.  He took notes of the flowers he saw along the way back to the resort….literally wrote them down and checked into them when we got back to the states.

I remember vividly a conversation we had one night on our first trip to Rosemary Beach together.  Peter, you were dreaming out loud and saying something like, “Wouldn’t it be great to do this regularly, like every two years and the kids will be able to have these great memories of our summer vacations together?   Just think, in a few years, Micah will be driving and she can take all of the kids places, or we will be able to leave all of the kids here while we go out on a date and have dinner together while they watch movies and play games at the house?”  Time flies.  Now we have three drivers and one on the way.  Everyone is a teenager or older and so independent. We are living on opposite sides of the world from each other and we have experienced our first death together.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have suspected this unlikely change in our journey together.  I just knew it was in God’s plans for us to grow old together, walk our girls down the isle in the presence of one another, live in our second homes near one another, be there for every success and pain of our children and each other, and always have each other with whom we could share our dreams.  It all still exists for us, but because it is without Michael, we must all learn what that looks like without him in the circle of friends.  Is that a heavy weight for you, Peter? I hope it is not.  We are still a bond greater than two, a bond that is not easily broken.

Peter, I loved watching the two of you talk and dream big about the future for your families.  It brought excitement to the both of you, which, in turn, brought expectancy to the rest of us.  You both worked so hard for your families and kept your priorities straight, unlike so many other men of this day.  God is blessing you through your discipline, and God is blessing me, as a result of Michael’s discipline during his life here on this earth  It is not fair, in the flesh.  I just am down right missing him.  I miss watching him laugh with you and relax with you.

Nanette, I could write a book on our friendship…. come to think of it, maybe I will. J  You are the most devoted and passionate friend I have ever had.  You have been there for the long haul, at all times, no matter the miles between us.  I am so thankful that NCA brought us together.  It is the best thing that came out of all of those years of cheerleading.

This is all just so strange….. Not right, in our eyes.  What in the world could be in the future that God has planned?  How could it possibly be better than what we thought our future looked like?  I don’t’ know the answers but I know God does have an answer.  I still believe in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  I am looking for that hope and that future…. Not harm me? … looking for that too.

I treasure our friendship, our past, and our future.  I respect your input, advice, and wisdom that you bring to my life.  I need the stability that comes from our friendship and, even more so, the children do too. 

I love all of you and am thankful that God put this friendship in place in 1988, for such a time as this.  He knew I would need all of you.

All my love,



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