I was at work early Monday morning when I got word that my friend Fernando Sanchez passed away and for the rest of the day it was hard to focus on anything. Sights and sounds seemed to come from a long distance away. People would say something and it would take a minute or two to process what they had said.
Fernando was one of several friends that showed up not just to move me into my new house, but also for the earlier and considerably less festive task of moving my ex-wife out of our apartment. Before that day we moved my wife out, I'd never really asked for help from a group of friends like that. The fact that friends showed up and helped, some that I knew well, some that I didn't know all that well, really kind of knocked me for a loop.
I've spent a lot of my life feeling like I was on the outside of things looking in, that I wasn't a part of a community, that I didn't have friends. And although things are different, it has been hard for me to accept that things have changed. That morning, when so many folks showed up to help load the ex-wife's things into the back of a big yellow Penske rental truck, really rocked my perception of the world. It strikes me that I have done a poor job of saying thank you to those folks, not because of a lack of gratitude and appreciation, but out of inexperience and a sense of the inadequacy of words to explain.
I think it was that sense of people coming together for me and wanting to pay some of that back which helped motivate me to spend at least a little time with Fernando over the past few weeks and I am extraordinarily grateful that I did.