Last week, I lost a friend, yesterday he was laid to rest.
He will be mourned 40 day’s, and remembered/ honored yearly, as is the Greek Orthodox way…but he will be remembered daily by all who knew him.
I knew Yanni almost 13 years, we met when my youngest was 4, she will be 17 in a few short months. In those 13 years, our friendship grew, the past 5-6 years, he confided things in me when life felt it’s worst, I did the same with him. I shared good and bad with him, he shared the same with me.
I will always have memories that stand out, early in the friendship, when we didn’t know one another so well, to the hugs and late night hello’s of the last 3-4 years. I will remember him always, teaching my little ones to say thank you in Greek when he gave them a piece of candy, (they ultimately thought the word meant candy, but they did learn to say it.
He used to tell Emma that there were sharks in the fountain at Zorba’s and she would always run to look for them, every time we came in.
I will miss his hugs goodbye, I will miss the forehead kisses, and the big bear hugs and even yiayia’s cookies and treats as we leave.
If you said it once, you said it a hundred times to your wait staff, give her a cake/dessert/whatever on me…this is my friend.
Last night, I made the mistake of telling a business he helped open years ago, less than 2 years into knowing him, that I felt they should have said something to tel their patrons of his passing, after all this had been his establishment too. They chose to say things that would initially make me feel sad, broken. They told me that he used to hide from me when I came in to their establishment. This upset and hurt me, but I’ve come full circle overnight and realized that this was early in our friendship, when we didn’t know one another, and perhaps my exuberance and excitement for him and his new restaurant was a bit overwhelming. Either way, I choose not to hold on to bitter words from an entity that I knew to speak venom about him when he was alive, much less when he no longer has a voice to answer back.
Ευχαριστώ Ιωάννης, memory eternal my friend, I look forward to those hugs when I see you again, my friend.