My favorite people who are no longer with me are Mel Batten and my grandmother, Millie Osborn.
I'll start with Grandmother. She is still the most precious person to me that I've known. I was her first grandchild born with blue eyes and so was special to her. Special to the point that I was the only grandchild with a pet name ... "My Precious Blue Eyes". It was so iconic that my oldest brother decided to roast me during her wake. But now, even all these 13 years later, it brings tears to my eyes. I miss her so terribly. I wish she were still here to give me love, advice, comfort, and support. I know that for as long as I can remember her, she is still here. But it would be so nice to hear her voice, to hear her say that she's proud of the person I've become, to hear her say how much she loves her Precious Blue Eyes. I would give anything for that right now.
Mr. Batten. My second father figure. The man who gave me my confidence back. I miss him so much. I think about Mr. Batten almost on a daily basis. I have so many memories (a certain toilet papering comes to mind) but the one memory that sticks in the forefront of my mind is a bus ride home from Calvert County after a long Tri-County Honors Chorus rehearsal. I was sitting alone in a bus seat and Mr. Batten moved to sit beside me. We talked a while about the rehearsal. I gave him a hard time about giving me a hard time during rehearsal. And then he said something that has stuck with me even after all these years. "You are the son I would have had." I knew how special it was then. And I know how much more special it is to me now.
The hardest part of life is that it ends. And those of us left behind are left to deal with the aftermath.