Monday, November 26, 2012

Remembering Rusty 2 years later

A few days ago marked the 2-year anniversary of Rusty Sneiderman's death. I'm not going to discuss the craziness that ensued following Rusty's death. Instead I'd like to talk about the wonderful man we lost.

There are situations where I still talk to the big guy or I think what would Rusty do in this situation. I miss him. Sadly though, as time goes on, I remember less and less about him. Thanksgiving marked 4 years since Rusty, Andrea, my Andrea and I first met at a Thanksgiving day party, the same party we attended this past Sunday. What followed were intriguing lunches, fun double-dates and lots of kids' birthday parties. In fact, Rusty filmed one of our kid's parties.

The world was a far better place before Rusty died, at least it seems. There was no chaos in our small community. I could laugh at Rusty making fun of himself. I had a friend who would do whatever it took to make me successful in my endeavors. I still miss our lunches and whenever I pass by his old workplace, I think of him. Whenever I see anything concerning Cleveland, Harvard or Indiana, I think of him. I remember our last dinner together and the last movie we all saw together. I remember his amazing lake house and how he loved to drive his boat.

I remember him fixing our oft-broken gutter which since has not had a single issue. I remember him telling me he was taking a break from his diet when we went to the Blue Ribbon Grill to celebrate another Wish for Wendy meeting. I remembered how much he wanted to make it in this world. He was constantly coming up with ideas. In the back of my mind, I thought we might one day work together in between taking cruises with our families.

Rusty was born on June 18th and died November 18th at 36. The interesting thing is that 18 is the Jewish symbol for life and considering he was born on the 18th and died on the 18th and lived 2 x 18, that's pretty symbolic as he lived quite an amazing life although it was too short.

I have a lot of saved e-mails from Rusty. As I read them, I remember his personality and his zest for life. I found one today where I wished him a Happy Birthday and instead of writing me back to thank me, his first response was "How is your dad?" because my dad had been under the weather. He didn't even take a moment to think about his birthday. It was just like when we used to go to lunch. He always asked what he could do for me to make me successful. He rarely gave a thought to himself; he was always more concerned how he could lend a hand.

Rusty should be here today taking Ian to baseball practice and Sophia to ballet. He should be taking Andrea to dinner preferably with me and my Andrea. We should be talking about the fact that it was nearly 4 years ago that we first got acquainted. We should be celebrating that mark. Instead, we have lost 2 of those 4 years and even mentioning the name Rusty Sneiderman brings disagreements wherever you go.

I know that regardless of how the trial goes early next year that Sophia and Ian will grow up having very few memories of their father. I'm sad that these children won't remember what a wonderful man their father was. They'll hear a lot second-hand but it's just not the same. I'm also sad that a community has been torn apart due to one man's act and several people taking advantage of the opportunity to make names for themselves. I've grown tired of seeing Rusty's picture on the news. I've grown frustrated with all of the ugly blog posts. Mostly though, I wish I could get in a time machine and go back to 2008 so that I could tell Rusty how significant, while short, our friendship was to me.

I ask whether you side with Andrea or you side with those who are against Andrea that you take a moment today and remember Rusty. Remember the wonderful man that he was. Remember what a great family man he was. If you didn't know him, I ask that you say his name without discussing the trials that have followed his tragic death. I ask that you pray for his children.

Rusty, we miss you. I wish you were here to tell me what I could do for your family. I know you though and I know what you'd say. "We'll be fine. How is your family doing?"

We'd be a lot better if you were still here.


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