On May 8th I lost one of the best friends I've ever had. Best friend, adopted dad, spiritual director, constant prankster. He was very well known in some circles. He spent 28 days in a house in Amityville. When I first met him, I was fumbling my way back to a church I'd left long ago. A silly priest had called me a witch and said I didn't belong in "his" church. I was just a kid. I didn't know any better. Now I know I have gifts. Charisms of the Spirit. The church - God's church - is right where I belong. Lee and St. Pio helped me to see that. We often wondered if St. Pio brought us together. St. Pio made an appearance at the house, and to Fr. Ray - the priest helping them through it all. That remains one of the theories as to why activity in the house settled down. St. Pio had phenomenal gifts over evil.
As such, Lee became my greatest spiritual advisor. He held my hand going back into the church. Supported me in joining the Secular Franciscan Order. Through a fit when I told him I was commited to a celibate single life. He always wanted to marry me off to someone.
I love my dad. He's a great guy. Independent. Original. Kind. But Dad's independence often has him forgetting he has kids. Lee was the dad I always wanted. If he didn't hear from me for a few days he was on the phone. "Where've you been?" He was bossy. Always ordering me around. Laughing like a child when I refused to obey or told him to stop being a pill.
Above all he was a good listener. Gave insight when needed. Always supportive.
He put together a family. Collected from 4 corners. Each loving the other as much as he loved us. At his passing, we grabbed on to each other. For support. To support. We laughed. We cried. We ate good food and as Lee would have loved - drank ice coffee.
At his memorial service, I could hear him yelling at me. Why are you sad? You know where I am. Get over it. Get up there and say something nice about me.