My friend Michael Reiter was in his mid-60s when he passed away on February 24 after a very short illness. Mike didn’t look a day over 50. He was slim and trim, retired from IBM, and loving life.
So, I’m asking why was this man taken from his family, who he adored. Is it God’s plan, or is it just the luck of the draw? When someone passes unexpectedly, you want answers. You want a reason. You want someone or something to tell you why!
The valuable lesson I’ve learned from Micheal’s passing is, life’s too short. Don’t take it for granted because it can slip away at a moment’s notice. Make time to visit that best friend or family member and tell them how much you love and appreciate them.
One of my favorite memories of Michael took place once a year during the Jewish High Holy Days of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement; Jews fast for 24 hours, beginning on the eve of Yom Kippur.
Our Yom Kippur Break Fast Celebration…
Every year for the last 10 years, we’ve come together at our home to break the fast on that first day. Leslie prepares a ton of food, and I’ll always remember Michael walking up the stairs loaded down with her homemade fruit salad and veggie platter, and other assorted goodies.
I remember Michael teaching me how to maneuver Twitter as we gathered on our back deck enjoying great conversation, lox and bagels, and a mimosa. Because Mike was a passionate sports fan and loved the New York Mets, we would reminisce about the team’s glory days in the 80s when Daryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, and Keith Hernandez drove the Mets to the World Series in 1986.
I can’t imagine the intense sadness being felt by his wife Leslie, his daughter, Allie, and his son Adam. I understand that it’s the Circle of Life, but when that ‘circle’ hits you right between the eyes, thank God you’re left with a treasure of wonderful memories.
What sustains me is my belief that we will all be reunited with beloved friends and family members when our time comes. I now picture Michael in heaven behind a microphone as a sportscaster for the New York Mets or a sports reporter sitting down and interviewing Lou Gehrig or Ted Williams for the ‘Heavenly Gazette.’
One last thing, Michael, I have a favor to ask. When it’s my turn, “Save me a heavenly ‘Everything Bagel’ with lox and cream cheese, and don’t forget the slice of onion.” Even though you’re not with us, never forget how much you’re loved and missed.
LOOK: 50 photos of American life in 2020
CHECK IT OUT: 100 sports records and the stories behind them