Magnificent Seven ATF Universe
Not Ready to Say Good-By by Kathy M

"Are you sure you don't want to take a personal day?" Chris asked Vin as he walked the younger man out of his office. "You've got lots of comp time and overtime built up; you could use some."

"No, I'm fine. They've got to make all the arrangements and everything today, nothing for me to help with, so I reckon I may as well stay busy here."

Nodding Chris went back into his office as Vin headed to his desk hoping to distract himself and maybe get some work done. An hour later found Vin unable to focus on his unfinished research for their next case and he was staring off into space as loud chatter announced Buck and JD's return from the break room.

Taking one glance at the sad look on Vin's face the gregarious ladies' man bounded over to cheer up his friend. "Hey chum, how come so glum? Is everything okay? You look like your best friend died."

At the look of dismay on Vin's face Buck's own expression fell. "Oh no, someone did die?"

"Buck, you idiot," exclaimed JD as Josiah, Nathan and Ezra all looked over to hear what was going on and seeing Vin nod they all came over.

"I'm so sorry," said the big-hearted ladies' man. "Who? What happened? You don't have to tell us if you don't want to."

"Don't know if ya'all remember Jose Martinez? His mother, Maria, and his little brother and sister, Hector and Rosita, live in my building." At his teammates nods, a 'not sure,' an 'I think so,' and an 'isn't he that kid you helped out a few years ago?' Vin continued, "Yes, him. A few years ago he was just another troubled teen in Purgatorio on the fringe of a gang, probably headed for a life in and out of jail if he even lived that long. Well, he really cleaned up his act, fell in love with Anna, they got married and have the cutest little boy, and another child on the way. He works at a restaurant and then some nights at a warehouse trying to save money to buy a car. He can walk to the restaurant but he rides his bike to the warehouse."

Vin looked over to where Chris was leaning on his office door frame and seeing him nod encouragingly he took a deep breath and continued. "Last night, he was riding home in all that rain, it's a dark unlit road, and um, there was an accident, he got hit by a truck and, uh, he didn't make it." The last words were choked out in a whisper.

Then that awkward pause when no one knows what to say was broken by Ezra simply stating, "Such a sad loss," followed quickly by JD's, "That totally sucks."

Vin nodded and whispered "Thanks," as Josiah said, "To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under Heaven. Sadly the Lord works in mysterious ways that are sometimes hard to understand. I'll pray for his soul, and for his family."

"Yeah," added Buck, "it's like they say, only the good die young."

"Buck," hissed JD, elbowing the larger man who looked at him and whispered "What?" At JD's look the big hearted man quickly added, "Sorry, Vin. Let us know if there's anything we can do."

Vin just nodded again, then Nathan asked, "Was he wearing a helmet and a visi-vest or reflective markings?"

Vin stood up and stared at Nathan, who actually took a half-step back at the hard look on Vin's face. "I said it was an accident! What difference does it make whether he was wearing a helmet or not? He's still dead!" hissed the young man who then turned on Josiah. "And as for your God, I'll never understand; why do good people have to die? Chris, I am taking the day off!" Vin grabbed his jacket and ran out of the office, leaving his stunned teammates staring after him.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Vin was sitting at his desk when Buck and JD arrived at work the next day and they both walked over to see him.

"Vin, we, that is I, just wanted to say sorry if anything we said upset you yesterday," started Buck. "I'm really sorry that your friend, uh, departed suddenly." At Vin's odd look, he continued, "I mean, passed away unexpectedly."

"Thanks, and it's okay to say he 'died,'" stated Vin quietly.

"I was trying to be, you know, sensitive; it's always awkward to know the right thing to say in these types of circumstances."

"Don't know that there is a right thing to say," admitted Vin.

"But there sure can be lots of wrong things to say," added JD. "Some of the things people said to me after my mom died were so thoughtless or stupid. Sorry, Vin, I didn't mean to ramble on. I'm real sorry about him too; I wish I'd said something right yesterday."

The rest of the team came over, even Ezra who had arrived uncharacteristically early for him, and Chris came out of his office to join them even though he'd spoken to Vin earlier when he'd arrived.

Nathan stumbled over a short apology and after Josiah added a few more words of condolence he asked how the family was holding up, whether they had managed to get everything organized, and did they need any help.

"Yes, it's all so sad and very hard on everyone, but they've got lots of family, friends and neighbors that are all helping out. Sad to say it's not the first time a young man from Purgatorio has died," explained Vin. "Nothing they can do will change the facts, but it helps ease their minds that it was an accident, he died doing something to take care of his family. A mother's worse fear is losing a child, and only a few years ago she was worried that he would die in a gang fight or in jail so they're taking comfort however they can, but sometimes life is just so unfair. Like JD said, it sucks."

"And now that young wife is alone and their little boy has to grow up without a father," stated JD, "and you said they had another one on the way. That's so harsh."

"Yeah, it's just like that Elvis song, 'In the Ghetto,'" and Buck softly sang, "As her young man dies, on a cold and gray Chicago mornin', another little baby child is born, in the ghetto… and his mama cries."

JD elbowed Buck sharply. "Don't you take anything seriously?"

Buck looked hurt. "You know I do! They're good words, and I thought they fit."

"Like I said, there isn't always a right thing to say," Vin said and shrugged.

"It does fit," stated Josiah. "Jose will live on in his children; having a child left behind to carry on is indeed a blessing."

As the rest of the team agreed or nodded Chris softly added, "It really would be."

Ezra once again broke the silence, "Perhaps slightly more positively stated are the words from 'When I Die', by Laura Nyro, which most of you might recognize: And when I die, and when I'm gone, there'll be one child born and a world to carry on, there'll be one child born to carry on. Comin' as I go, and a world to carry on. There'll be one child born to carry on."

"Good words," agreed Vin.

"But I thought that was by Peter, Paul and Mary?" queried Nathan.

"I know for sure that Blood Sweat and Tears sang it," declared Buck.

"Peter, Paul and Mary bought the song from her and recorded it first, and then it became a big hit a couple of years later when sung by Blood Sweat and Tears," explained Ezra.

"I can't believe you did a song quote," said JD.

"Guess I'm becoming a good influence on him," smirked Buck.

"Yeah right," argued JD. "You and all your Jimmy Buffet quotes, the only thing they're good for is an answer to what to eat and where which would be 'a cheeseburger in paradise."

"Okay, people, conference room in thirty minutes to review the research on the Sterling case," announced Chris. He made eye contact with Vin and they held one of their silent conversations and obviously having decided Vin was doing okay. Chris headed back to his office.

Buck and JD renewed their bickering about song quotes as they moved to their desks followed quietly by Nathan and Ezra heading to theirs.

Josiah pulled a chair over to sit by Vin's desk.

"I'm fine," the younger man said, looking up into caring blue eyes.

"I know you are, just wanted to say that people handle grief, or deal with things in different ways, doesn't mean one way is better than another, just different."

"I know, and I really am doing okay."

"I was talking about the others; they didn't mean any disrespect by anything they said today or yesterday. Nathan, for example, was just trying to make sense of what happened. He needs to ask why and analyze things, trying to understand, trying to make sense of the senseless."

"I know; he's a fixer and a healer and if he can't fix something, he'd want to know how to prevent it from happening again."

"That's it exactly, and I use words. I try to find the best ones to console, but sometimes words aren't enough, or I can't find the right ones. And Buck's trying to pretend everything's normal or lighten up the situation to maybe distract you and probably JD."

"I do appreciate your words, Josiah, but sometimes words seem too much or empty. I know that Buck's got a great big heart; he doesn't like to see anyone unhappy. I know he feels things very deeply, and so does the kid. JD's so empathetic, and something like this would make him think about his ma again."

"Of course it would, and that's why Buck does what Buck does. And that leaves Ezra and Chris. Some people get angry, or some people avoid saying anything, they just don't know what to say, and often it brings back memories. Ezra might not know exactly how to act but would probably try to say all the correct words. People are different and if someone like Chris avoids saying something because it's difficult or awkward it doesn't mean they care any less."

Vin turned and just looked at Josiah. "I know they care. Chris stopped by after work to see if I needed any more time off, and asked if I wanted to come out to the ranch with him. He doesn't like to talk about certain stuff, but he'll try to keep me busy. And Ezra, he came over last night and played with some of the kids and helped organize the food for after the service. He's a man of action, just does what needs to be done, quietly behind the scenes. He usually doesn't want to be noticed, but in this case it was so reassuring for the family knowing that some of the food was being taken care of and the way he does things no one ever feels embarrassed or beholden."

"And what about you, Vincent?" asked Josiah. "How do you cope with things?"

"Me, I need to get away, to get outside into the vast outdoors. I take off into the mountains, or any wilderness, so I can get away from it all, where I can breathe the fresh air. Seeing nature as she was meant to be brings things back into perspective. I can step back and see the larger picture which makes me realize once again how small my worries are in the big scheme of the world. When I see the dawning of a new day, the sun cresting the horizon and its rays of color spread over the land it's always like the sunrise of hope, a new beginning. Chris says I can have some time off soon to get my 'balance' back, to use your phrase. He even said that he'd like to join me after a couple of days, or whenever I was ready for company."

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

The next day Ezra had barely sat down at his desk when Vin arrived. "Can I ask you somethin', Ez?"

"Certainly my friend, ask me anything at all. Please, have a seat; what can I help you with?"

"Well, Maria, Jose's mom, she's asked me to speak at the service, to say something about him, and I couldn't say no. She's asked a few people, so she said. I don't have to say much, just even a few words, but you know how I feel about talking in front of people. So I was wondering if maybe you could help me write something."

"Of course I would, but I really don't think that's the best idea. It should be your words, not mine. And I do know you, my friend; I know you wouldn't be comfortable reading any sort of a speech, so I think it's better to just speak from your heart. Think of a few things you want to say, maybe jot down a few notes to get them in order, and to remind you of all the points you want to make, so you don't miss anything. I honestly think that will work better for you than agonizing over writing a speech, and then worried about reading it in front of a group. This way you would be prepared but could just speak your own words."

Vin thanked Ezra, knowing he was probably right, but still not feeling totally confident about it. He decided to tell Chris.

"So, what do you think, Cowboy? Do you think I should write a speech or just do what Ezra suggested?"

"Maybe neither," said Chris.

"What do you mean? I've got to say something; I want to."

"I think, and it's just my opinion, but maybe you should write one of your poems. You've got a real talent. I'm not just saying that; you've got a way with poetry, you manage to say so much in just a few words, and since you usually remember them, I think that would work for you. Think about what you want to say, and put it together like you do, memorize it like usual, and you can take a printed copy with you to refer to if you need to. You can print some copies to give to his mom and family; I really think they would appreciate that."

Vin tilted his head in thought, then nodded. "Yeah, I can do that. That's a good idea. Thanks a lot. That's just so much more my style," Vin said and smiled, one of his first true smiles in days as he left the office.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

A few days later, the soft-spoken man stood in front of the large crowd at the service, his eyes fixed on Jose's family as he clearly and confidently spoke the words he had written, then memorized.



Miss You Forever

by Vin Tanner

Even when you were a just small boy

Your smile could light up a room

You were always such a joy

You loved to run and play

From sunup to the end of day

Growing up you had it rough

Never much money, times were tough

You never gave up, never said 'Enough!'

You never ever complained

Even when you were in pain

Never took the easy way out

Didn't ever rant and shout

Even when you grew into a tough teen

You never, ever would be mean

Whenever life knocked you down

You fought back, got up off the ground

We know you went through a rough stage

Were so happy when you turned the page

Learning and working hard was your new plan

You grew into such a fine young man

You knew how to work but still have fun

And you were such a good son

Always looking out for your mother

And you were such a good brother

Keeping an eye on those that were younger

You grew into such a fine young man

You turned your life around

Made us all so proud

You met the love of your life

So happy when she became your wife

You were so good together

Worked so hard to make things better

When you became a father

No one could have been prouder

You were such a loving caring Dad

Playing and smiling with your little lad

A good neighbor and friend

Always giving, right 'til the end

But life goes on and you're gone

Another life born to carry on

Still can't believe you're gone

Can't imagine won't see you again

We were not ready to say goodbye

Could never be ready to say farewell

But we will be strong

And we will carry on

We will honor your memory

Your children are your legacy

We were not ready to part

You will live forever in our hearts

We will miss you forever

After the service there was a reception at the Community Center with plenty of food, tea, coffee, and juice. Vin and the rest of the team were all there helping out in whatever way they could, even if it was just pouring drinks, or Nathan listening to some of the older people, or Chris outside helping with traffic in the parking lot. Ezra entertained some of the children and Josiah read to some of the youngest ones. The family had put together a photo display with many pictures of Jose throughout his life and everyone enjoyed looking at them. Children ran and played and laughter rang out as the community celebrated his life.

Vin noticed JD standing quietly by the backdoor and seeing the look on the younger man's face went over to join him and motioned him outside.

"What's up? You okay?"

JD shrugged. "I dunno, it's just… Never mind, it's stupid."

"Probably not; tell me what you're thinking."

"It's just sounds like they're having a nice time, instead of being sad. I still miss my mom; I'll miss her forever. How can they act like nothing happened?"

"They're not. They've chosen to celebrate his life rather than simply mourn his death – to look at how he lived rather than how he died. I would have thought that when you were in Boston you would have gone to an Irish wake? I hear they're quite the party."

"Yeah, sure, I've been to a few – lots of food and drinking, talking, laughing, even dancing, but those were for old people who had lived a good long life. But it doesn't seem right to hear people laughing at this one. The tea after my mom's Mass was much more serious; quiet and sad, not like this."

"Don't get me wrong, everyone is sad, and always will be, but today they've come together to celebrate his time on earth. You know, you never get over losing a family member, a loved one. They're doing what they have to do to survive, they have to carry on. They're moving on, just like you moved from Boston. Doesn't mean they loved him any less. It's certainly not easy but you have to let go of some of the pain so you can live again, so you can get up in the morning and face yet another day. You can't let the pain consume you, turn your heart black and hard. You have to have faith that you can still go on without that part of your heart and soul. They've got lots of hard days ahead."

"Yeah, it's not easy," agreed JD. "I still remember how lost I felt after my mom was gone. I barely remember the service. It was like I was in a fog. I guess it takes some people longer than others to, like you say, be able to go on alone. Like when Buck talks about how Chris was, and I used to feel sort of guilty when I started having fun again after I got here, but Buck says she'd be happy for me."

"Yes, exactly, and even though you'll never get over it, it's different – the pain is less raw. Little by little you can breathe again. Life goes on, the world still turns, and the sun continues to rise no matter how sad we are. It's like when winter comes, the plants die and the trees look barren, and everything's cold, dark, and dreary. Then the spring comes, the earth awakens and becomes reborn, everything starts over, grows, and becomes fresh and colorful again. Just like in nature, death is part of the cycle of life. Sometimes all we can do to honor the dead is to carry on," Vin said, and smiled at JD's nod. "Come on, we better get back in. Maybe you should go see if any women need to be rescued from Buck."

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Team Seven found themselves very busy working on a couple of cases, which was a good distraction from the sadness that came, thinking about what a waste a loss of life is.

A couple weeks later, and with another successful bust behind them, things were feeling just about back to normal for ATF Team Seven. Tidying up reports on the bust, and starting research on a few new leads was still keeping the team busy.

Buck and JD arrived a bit late, which sometimes happened with those two, so nobody thought anything of it until they took a look at JD. The team's youngest member was looking out of sorts, or maybe upset about something.

Vin wondered whether his red eyes were indicative of another fight with Casey, while Josiah wondered if the youth had gotten caught up late in another one of his video games, or whatever those online things were that he always seemed to be involved with. Nathan frowned, trying to determine if JD might be suffering from an allergy, or a cold, or if he was coming down with something more serious. Chris looked out his office window and sighed, easily recognizing the sadness in JD's expression.

During the day, whenever anyone asked how he was doing, JD said "fine" and that he didn't want to talk about it. If they looked at Buck for confirmation, the ladies' man nodded slowly, which let the others know that he knew whatever it was that was bothering JD.

Finally, later in the afternoon, Buck heard JD sigh heavily and the younger man put his head down on his desk. It reminded Buck of a kindergarten student taking an afternoon nap.

"Hey, kid, I know you told me what happened, and you didn't want to talk about it, but it might not hurt." Buck glanced around and he could see that the others were paying attention. They'd all been glancing over at JD all day, and when JD sat up and shrugged the others quietly drifted over.

"Yeah, JD. Nettie always says a problem shared is a problem halved, or something like that," Vin encouraged.

"I believe it's a burden shared," drawled Ezra, "and I for one am a willing ear."

"The Bible says share one another's burdens," started Josiah as Nathan cut in, "Hey, guys, I think we should let JD speak."

Chris came out of his office and added, "Don't think they're going away. You might as well tell us, maybe it's something we can help with."

JD sighed. "It's just that last night I found out some sad news about a list sib."

"A what?" asked Vin.

"A list sib, sibling, sometimes it's what we call members of the same internet list. This online group is the one that Buck calls my nerdy geeks techie issue discussion group."

"What happened?" asked Nathan.

JD sighed again. "She died. One of the other people in the group told us Sue had died, that she had lost her fight against cancer. I'm sorry, this probably sounds stupid to you guys; after all, I guess I didn't really know her, we were just online friends. But still…."

"Doesn't mean it's any less sad," said Vin.

"Any death scares us and reminds us of our own mortality," said Ezra. "A man with a similar name to yours, John Donne, once wrote that 'any man's death diminishes me for I am involved with mankind.'"

"'And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee,'" finished Josiah. "A very apt quote."

"Hey, I know that quote," blurted Buck. "It's from that poem that starts with 'No man is an island, entire of itself, each is a part of the continent, a part of the main.'" At the looks on his coworkers' faces he continued, "What? Why are you all looking at me like that?"

"Just surprised to hear you quote a poem, usually you quote song lyrics," admitted Chris.

"Well I gotta tell ya, as much as women love me singing to them, they really get impressed by poetry – really impressed, if you know what I mean." Buck grinned as he waggled his eyebrows.

At Nathan's nudge Buck said, "Sorry, JD. Why don't you tell them about her, like you told me?"

JD looked away as if embarrassed. "She was real nice and friendly, and helpful…" He shrugged.

"I think this type of discussion needs the proper venue," suggested Chris.

"Saloon!" chorused everyone.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Sitting around their usual table, with drinks in hand, the rest of the team listened as JD spoke.

"Lots of times I'd think, I wonder what she'll say about this, or, I bet Sue's got an opinion or an idea about that. There's lots of people in this particular group, we're all interested in the same thing, but some are more chatty or helpful than others, and she really encouraged me. She's the one who helped me figure out how to get that extra range we needed from the surveillance equipment on the Jamison case. I just feel so bad that I didn't even know she was sick. Made me remember how hard it was for my mom, and I just wish I'd known Sue was ill. I would've been able at least to say something to her. Maybe I couldn't have helped her feel better or anything, but at least I could've let her know I cared, and that I really appreciated her being my friend and helping me, stuff like that."

"Some people aren't comfortable letting other people know when they're sick," Nathan said, not looking at anyone specifically. "Maybe in her case she just wanted to act like everything was normal."

"Like I already told JD," Buck said, "we've probably all known someone like her – someone who helped us, and then they're gone; and I'm not talking about family or close friends. After my mom died, one of her co-workers was really there for me, helped with all the arrangements, the legal stuff and everything. Sure, I thanked her at the time, but later I realized just how much she'd helped, and I only knew her first name, so I was never able to find her again, to really thank her."

"I know what you mean," agreed Chris. "I had a coach in High School who really worked with me. I realized later that it was because of him that I got the scholarship I needed to go to the college I wanted. When I tried to contact him later, to let him know how I'd done it, it was too late. I found out he'd died the year before."

"I also have fond memories of those whose lives intersected with mine at some point," admitted Ezra. "A connection was made, if even only for a brief time, and then they were gone. Sometimes it was because we lost touch, or, more often, Mother moved me again and I lost the chance to let them know that they had made a difference to me in some way. I remember one elderly woman – a distant cousin of Maude's that I actually enjoyed staying with – who died before I could visit her again. Another was an older boy in my dormitory who helped me adjust in my first boarding school. I realized afterwards how much he had gone out of his way to help me fit in."

Josiah talked about a mentor at college, an older professor who helped him decide on his academic path. Nathan spoke about how it was a chance meeting with an EMT that had motivated him to pursue that training. Vin told everyone about a training sergeant who had guided him along, helped toughen him up when he'd first joined the Army.

JD offered to do internet searches, if anyone wanted help trying to find someone, but everyone replied that it was either too late or that they had already tried themselves.

"Maybe it's like that random act of kindness stuff," suggested Nathan. "When someone does something kind for you, and you can't pay them back, you do something for someone else, you pass it on."

As everyone agreed, Buck casually slung his arm over JD's shoulders and, picking up his beer, he said, "I propose a toast, to everyone who was there when we needed them."

Everyone raised their glasses and echoed his sentiments, then Buck added, "It's just like the words of that song… 'you were there when I needed you, you were there when I needed you,'" he sing-songed until Inez glanced over at their table, then he grinned widely at her, before turning and nudging JD. "See, I told you, women love it when a man sings."

"Okay, maybe they do – if, and I do mean if, the man can actually sing, unlike you. Did I tell you I even have to put in my ear buds and turn up my music when you're singing in the shower?"

"Yeah, right. Women love my crooning. Hey, Ez, bet you don't know who sang that song, do ya?"

"That's yet another bet you'd lose, Mr. Wilmington. However, since you didn't actually carry the tune, or sing more than one phrase, it could be from 5 Candles by Jars of Clay, or When I Needed You, by Sheena Easton… or there's the possibility of another song that also used that same phrase."

"Damn, Ez, you continue to surprise me."

"And why am I surprised that you continue to be surprised by what I know. Remind me the next time you say 'I bet you don't know' to actually make and collect on the wager."

"Hey, did you Google that phrase on that fancy pants smart phone of yours?"

The gambler just smiled his gold toothed grin as he nodded to Inez to bring another round.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

JD was definitely quieter than usual the next day, but he assured everyone that he was fine, just thinking about something. Finally, he told Vin how impressed he had been with Vin's poem at Jose's service. "I really liked all of it, but especially the words 'Not ready to say goodbye.' That really stuck with me. So, I was hoping that maybe you would write a poem about my friend if I told you what I wanted to say."

"Sure I could, but it'd be better if you wrote it yourself. It should be your thoughts, and your own words, not mine."

"Yes, that's what I want, my words, which is why I decided to ask you and not Josiah, Buck, or Ezra, or anyone else, because they might suggest I use some of their types of words."

Vin smiled. "I appreciate you asking me, kid, and it's a real nice idea. You get some stuff written down, don't even think about rhyme, or worry about any kind of order, just let the thoughts and words flow onto the paper, or in your case, type them on the computer. Keep adding to them for a while as they keep coming to you, and then we'll get together and see what you've come up with, and see if we can get it into some kind of order."

"Thanks. I want it to be good enough to share with the list online. It might sound kind of silly, but if it's just sort of out 'there,' you know, in cyberspace, maybe the words might just float to her somehow. I really appreciate you helping me. You're totally awesome at this sort of thing; it'll be great!" And a bit of the missing bounce was back in JD's step as he almost ran back to his desk.

It didn't take long before everyone else in the office knew what JD had planned, and he was pleased when everyone let him know they thought it was a nice idea.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

"Okay, guys, it's finished," JD announced a few days later. "Do you want to hear it?" At everyone's positive answers or nods, he continued, "Thanks again, Vin, for helping me sort through things and get it into some kind of order. It's not as good as Vin's poems are – I couldn't get everything to rhyme, but I wanted to use my own thoughts and words, and it turns out I had lots to say. It is what it is. I made it sort of generic, and not just about one person, so it could apply to lots of my cyber friends, or anyone who was there when we needed them, or so many others in our everyday life. Okay, so here it is…

Miss You Already
by JD Dunne
So sad to hear you're gone
I didn't get to say goodbye
So very sorry I didn't know
Wish I could have been there for you
Like you were always here for me
You were a friend when I needed one
When you promised something it got done
You were always a willing ear
A sounding board ready to hear
My thoughts, ideas, problems and plans
You gave support and suggestions
You offered advice when I needed it
Even sometimes when I didn't want it
Gave a nudge in the right direction
Told me not to expect perfection
You gave me confidence when I was down
It was easier to be brave with you around
You gave me courage to be me
Encouragement set me free
You were there when I needed a smile
With a joke or a kind word,
A laugh when I was down
Someone to play the clown
A ray of sunshine on a dreary day
Or when I was bored and wanted to play
Sorry I didn't thank you for being you,
For always being there and for being fun
Now it's too late for things not done
We get busy and take things for granted
I hope you know you were appreciated
Friends come in a variety of ways
Your words brightened many of my days
Thank you for being a friend to me
Please know I learned this lesson late
To say the words now, not to wait
I was not ready to say goodbye
But now I know what to try
I vow to let people know
How much they mean to me
Because we never know
How a simple kindness can grow
Sometimes even something small
Can mean a lot to someone
Can make them feel ten feet tall
Or help them get something done
If someone's deed or words make me smile
I can let them know they went the extra mile
If what they do can ease my day
Then I can do something to repay
I can share the smiles around
Like pebbles thrown into a pond
Make ripples that move leaves along
Though lives may only shortly cross
We never know what we might miss
And you will truly be missed
Won't forget what a difference you made
I will try to be there for someone else
Like you were there for me
We miss you already.

"Very nice, John Daniel, very thoughtful," Josiah said and smiled as everyone else added their agreement and comments about how much they liked it and how good they thought it was.

JD blushed. "Thanks. Like I said, Vin helped me get started. I just wish I'd let her know that I appreciated her before it was too late, but I posted it online to let others know what I think, and who knows, maybe it'll reach her wherever she is out there."

"Well, all we can ever do is our best, and try to learn as we go along," said Josiah. "So many people touch our lives and make a difference, some are with us for a long time, others might only touch us for a moment. This is a good reminder for all of us that we should try to make a difference in this world, and to appreciate and thank those that make a difference to us. Don't wait until it's too late."


The End

So, to all my friends out there, thank you for everything you've added to my life. Kathy M, March 2013. Feedback: