Sunday, January 23, 2011

Another funeral, Day 1 of Tobi and Remembering Rusty

It's been a while since my last post so let me tell you what's been going on. The attached photo is the poster I have in my workout room by the way. It's a collage I created for inspiration back when I lived with Ross in old Dunwoody Courtyards. I have my first 2 Peachtree numbers on there as well as a childhood picture of me with my dog Howard, my best friend from my youth. I also have several motivational phrases included on the poster.

Most of last week, I was up at 5:30am and had very solid workouts.

I started TOBI this past Monday morning and will be on it for the next 28 days.

Last weekend was absolutely exhausting. On Friday, we went to a funeral for my cousin Laura's father. Laura is my cousin out of marriage so I was not related to her father. David was a good man who endured a lot of health issues yet he lived long enough to see his two beautiful grandchildren. My heart and condolences go out to the Funk family especially my cousins Jonathan and his wife Laura. The funeral took place at the same cemetery that Rusty was buried. I could do without a funeral for a while.

Last Saturday, we went to a kids' birthday party in Smyrna. I was put in charge of videotaping the cake ceremony which was difficult after I found out that typically that was Rusty's job. Rusty filmed Ethan's last birthday too. We sat Shiva that night in Sandy Springs for Laura's dad (Sitting Shiva is the Jewish tradition for the week following the burial where family and friends get together to mourn), and finally we had dinner with our good friends Ross and Summer. I promised Ross I would not watch the Falcons game during dinner but I did keep an eye on the score from my phone. Let's just say I went straight home and deleted it from our TIVO. The Falcons got blown out by the Packers and were eliminated from the playoffs. The miserable luck of Atlanta sports teams continues. ONE Championship between four teams in approximately 45 years!!! We are the Cleveland of the South.

Last Sunday, we had brunch with my aunts and a few others in Dunwoody. After that, we visited our cousins Laura and Jonathan, their kids and several members of the Funk and Zucker families to get the little cousins together. Following the visit, we went home to meet the babysitter and then joined our friends Tammi and Steve as they invited us to the Georgia Tech/North Carolina basketball game. We had a great time.

I find myself very angry lately and I'm having difficulty sleeping. I am having nightmares thinking about the fact that I could have been in the Dunwoody Prep parking lot and stop this guy. I guess the tragedy in Tucson and how the gunman was disarmed after his initial round makes me wish I could have done the same for my friend. I know there is no way I could have known about this guy and where Rusty was going to be, but there is a part of me who wishes I could have just coincidentally been there. He and I had talked earlier that week about getting lunch. I wish I'd agreed to that Wednesday (the day before the shooting) and I could have done something to change his schedule the following day plus I would have gotten one more lunch with my friend. Rusty deserved to see his son play little league and his daughter go to prom. I'm still having trouble getting a grip on his death...I'm not alone.

At the funeral on Friday for Laura's father, I thought how sad it was that everyone was slowly getting older. I remember when I was the kid amongst the group and everyone else was in their forties and fifties. Now everyone is in their seventies and eighties. Relatives who used to walk over and hug me now struggle just to walk. Brunettes and Blondes are now gray. It reminds me that I better do all I want now before I am not strong enough to do the things I once wanted to do.

In other sad news, my big fish tank had toxicity issues and I lost four fish and had to clean it three different times in a week. They're all happy now...well, except for the ones I flushed.

I might have some exciting news on my book. I will know in the next week but I'm currently in talks with a potential publisher. I also have been working with my friend Traci on a business card for the foundation. I'm pretty excited about it. My sister has put together a cool fashion show for Wish for Wendy in February. More details to come. Monday the Australian Open started so expect Andrea and I to be in Melbourne every morning at about 5am for the next two weeks. I actually begin in Orlando since I do my therapy while the kids watch Disney in the basement but then I travel upstairs to a crazy crowd in the land down under. Speaking of tennis, I will be playing T2 this season with my friend Will. I haven't picked up a racket in 2 years so it could be ugly.

This past Saturday was awesome. The kids spent the night at my parents' house on Friday night and Andrea and I got a night out at The W Hotel in Buckhead and a dinner at the Capital Grille. We had a terrific time. Thanks Mom and Dad.

On Sunday, we were at the synagogue for a memorial for Rusty. Several people including myself said a few words and then Rusty's Andrea spoke. She did a beautiful job expressing her love for Rusty. Finally, we were greeted by a slideshow detailing Rusty and Andrea's life together. I was moved to tears watching it. It was the first time I really broke down since Rusty's death. I miss him very much. A day doesn't go by without me thinking about him.

I hope everyone is healthy and happy. Enjoy each day.

Best Wishes,


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow, Rusty and The Good Things from 2010

I haven't written a blog in a while so I figured I'd write to tell you what is going through my head. First off, the picture I enclosed is from the Monday Night Football Game between the Falcons and Saints a few weeks back. Unfortunately, the Falcons lost but Andrea and I had a great time anyway.

We had 4 to 6 inches of snow in Atlanta. That's the equivalent of 24 inches in the northeast. Snow is like a nuclear weapon in the south. Everything closes and everyone heads to the store to buy several gallons of milk and dozens of loaves of bread. We are fine at our house. We used an old inner-tube for a sled to slide down our driveway multiple times. Andrea and I spent the last couple of days shoveling the driveway so we could get out today.

It's been about two months since Rusty passed away but I still think about him constantly. I'm glad they have a suspect in custody and while I'm full of hateful thoughts about this man, I know Rusty would tell me not to focus on him. I miss the big guy. I miss getting random e-mails about meeting for lunch or hitting the batting cage or just coming over for dinner.

I'm sorry for his wife and kids. I know they are hurting too and I know how much they loved him. I remember a few weeks before Rusty's death, the four of us double-dated and saw The Social Network. Afterwards, my Andrea and I talked about the movie's theme, how it was very interesting and how the acting was superb. Rusty and his Andrea were giggling amongst themselves during the movie about something and when the movie concluded finally I asked "What is so funny?" He told me that the Harvard scenes were incorrect. It was something about the bridge in one scene. I didn't go to Harvard so I'm not familiar with the landscape. I would have applied to this Ivy League giant, only I wasn't sure if the dean of admissions had a sense of humor or not. The fact that both of them could laugh at a bridge being out of place shows how perfect they were for each other and what a great couple they were. I continue to pray for Rusty's entire family from his wife and kids to his parents and brother and in-laws. I know they all loved him very much and the pain of losing him will never go away.

Now onto some positives.

I'm looking forward to the Falcons game on Saturday night. This city has not had a winning team in so long. We are overdue. I hope the dome is loud for the Packers on Saturday and that the Falcons move on to the NFC Championship Game.

I'm still keeping my weight around 182 which is 15 pounds better than September. I have several speeches on tap this year and am working on becoming a better public speaker. I found myself putting together a few photo albums this weekend as I didn't want to lose any of our old pictures that were just sitting around. I've found myself getting sentimental lately. Maybe it just replaces depression during the winter. Either way, it's positive so I'm not going to try to find reason in it. I'm putting more pictures in frames. I'm taking more pictures and videos of the children and Andrea. I'm stopping to take a breath and look at the sky at least once a day. I don't know if it was Rusty's death that has caused me to do that or if I'm just realizing that the kids will only be little once.

Everyone keeps telling me that they hope 2011 will be better than 2010. There were parts of 2010 that were awful. I'm not going to lie, however; there were some good things too. My father's health is much improved. Andrea and I got to take the kids to Disney for the first time. I got to know Rusty a lot better before he died. His friendship meant a lot to me and his Andrea's friendship means a lot to me. I got to take my Andrea to her first playoff game. I lost 15 pounds and improved all of my health numbers. Andrea's brother got to come into town to see the kids and we got to visit him in Los Angeles. My best friend Ross got married and I got to be the best man. I was able to make some new friends and able to rekindle friendships with old ones. Ethan's speaking has continued to improve. I was able to watch Avery at gymnastics. I successfully made it through my first of many years of emotional sobriety. I was thrilled that Andrea got to go to the Emmy's with my sister and that Emily's store "Raw Denim" has opened and is successful. I was thrilled to meet Garth Brooks and go with Andrea, Emily, my mom and my Aunt Anita to see his Teammates for Kids Gala. Wish for Wendy eclipsed the million dollar mark. Playing catch with Ethan and Avery.

Thanks for reading. I hope that all of you have good health and great happenings in 2011. Make everyday special because it truly is.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Killer has been found

My new blog was going to be about my New Year's resolutions for 2011.

Unfortunately, this will have to wait for a later blog. I found out last night that the killer in my close friend's case has been identified and arrested. Here is the link.

I know everyone wants the facts right now and I'm sure they will come out in the next few days. Either way, I am highly confident that Rusty did nothing to provoke these actions. Regardless, being that this is still an open investigation, I cannot comment on this case. I hope that you will respect that.

It's crazy that for so long I wanted this guy to be found and NOW that I see his picture, I have so much anger towards him. I already have two raw fists from hitting the bag so much lately. I really took to the bag this morning. All I could do was picture this guy's face. This man took one of my best friends. Rusty should still be here. He was robbed. All of us were. His Andrea and the kids will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers and we will be there for them always.

My Andrea and I are hurting right now as I'm sure so many are. I couldn't even talk about it last night. It's ironic that I was watching the Craig's List Killer movie on TV the night before. Yesterday I did some research on him because I wondered why someone could take someone else's life. In strange ways, I understood some of his issues. For example, I know what it was like to have secrets and even the double-life part dealing with my own depression issues. I just didn't understand how someone could commit murder. Now I'm back pondering that again...but this time it hits close to home.

Rusty's vigil has been postponed but I hope he knows that justice will finally prevail. Rusty, this man will never go free. We will make sure of that fact. We love you.

I have enclosed a picture of my good friend Rusty holding my son and also a picture of the man who was arrested in the case. Please keep Rusty's family in your prayers.