“Memorials to friends that passed
a tribute to caring: Roy Accles
Vickie Collin's life partner & a dear friend of the tranz-world Roy Accles passed away in Nashville Tennessee on Sunday, November 19th, 2006.
It was hard to be an active member of our community and not know Roy. He & Vickie were mainstays in attendance and support for scores of functions & organizations. However, it was even more challenging to know him...and not absolutely adore that infectious smile & loving heart. Vickie & Roy were one of the most improbable & absolutely beautiful loves I ever witnessed. God certainly had a hand in their connection. I like to think he'll continue to carry their love through eternity.
Few people had more fun teasing Roy than yours truly & it was safe to say he'd get pretty disappointed if I didn't playfully work-the-program each time we visited. Due to prior commitments, I only made it by SCC for only a couple of hours this past year. My primary reason for stopping in was to say "hello" to Roy for what we both knew would be the last time.
A favorite memory remains how I never let him live-down my beating him at billiards & him forever insisting that my bare thigh situated on the table's edge before his potential game-winning shot had something to do with the fact he missed so badly. Men...what a bunch of sore losers. *Laugh* I'll miss you, Roy...and so will many, many others.
I attended his memorial service in Nashville on November 25th. Was doing fine until Vickie stood up & began reminiscing about their cats & how Roy's dying wish was for her to look after their "babies". From that point forward...my mascara was totally cooked.
Lost too many dear friends to this awful disease. Thus, I made a contribution to finding a cure in Roy's name as a small token of respect. My thoughts are with Miss Vickie & my prayers remain dedicated to that joyful day when she & Roy are reunited.
a tribute to inspiration: J. Michael Amodeo
My dear friend Michael Amodeo died on May 20th, 2006.
Michael was very rare: he walked his talk. Not many people do that, 'ya know? I admired his positive attitude & treasured his sense of humor. I adored pretty much everything about the man except his obsession with never being late. Show up tardy for a visit with Mickey? You'd swear you'd committed a felony.
A favorite memory was during one of our phone visits. As usual, I was high-strung: ranting over some issue in my life. He stopped me dead in the middle of a soliloquy to share an important insight...leaving me baited with anticipation. Calmly he stated: you really need to breathe. I remember thinking I wanted to strangle him for not listening to my tirade. From that day forward my life improved because I'd hear his words during fits of anguish...breathe.
At his funeral service I was struck by the wide variety of people in attendance: a tell-tale of his unique persona. Notably were the young karate students adorned in gees plus a host of skilled instructors & current-masters...all apprentices of his watchful eye. He was most recently awarded the level of 8th-Dan by the Tai Kwon Doe Association & honored with only their 801st certification as Grand Master. His life as one of Atlanta's most famed karate masters was pretty amazing.
Karate was a source for renown but his marriage to Betty is what made him remarkable. The way they loved is without a doubt the most inspiring union I ever witnessed. Their relationship continues to give me hope that extraordinary love is possible for everyone.
I had unusual difficulty with his passing. As I left his funeral it occurred to me exactly why that was. Michael'd done something special for me: I'd just realized it & never acknowledged what it meant. He'd first met & befriended me as a male...remained my dear companion as I became female - and wasn't remotely affected by my gender changing before his eyes. No other friend was able to do that. All he ever saw in me or anyone else he encountered...was the spirit beneath the flesh.
Spent a joy-filled Saturday with Michael & Betty chowing on spaghetti and watching a video retrospective of his career in Tae Kwon Do plus a hilarious outtake of a recent reunion with his brothers. He gifted me a pinky ring he adorned most his adult life: I wear it today.
As I left & we hugged he said: "If I don't see you again soon...I'll see you soon." His battle with cancer ended exactly three weeks later.
Thanks, Michael - for being a dear friend through both genders. Don't forget to keep those angelic eyes on Betty until she's back by your side.
I'll see 'ya soon.
And I'll do my very best...not to be late.
a tribute to friendship: Rob Puckett
Lost my oldest & dearest friend in April, 2004 - Rob Puckett.
Rob & I grew up only two houses apart in Owensboro, KY. Much of my childhood was defined by our interaction. From adolescence, we evolved to riding to school together every single day until graduating. Our parallel lives made us synonymous but our differences made us surpass. We pushed one another's boundaries - oft arguing for days over fortified positions of individuality.
I'm a much better person because I shared my life with this unique individual - and I'm thankful.
Didn't attend his memorial - knew my presence would be distracting. Let's face it - I'm a little different and Owensboro isn't exactly a model market for diversity. Chose to privately commemorate his life with recollections of our life together.
A few favorite memories?
The first day we met, the torture & public hanging of those naked Barbie dolls, our non-existent yet highly exclusive childhood club & those ridiculous rites of passage endured by other kids to earn membership, the nightly survey of motherly menu's to determine the evening's best place to chow, the babysitter that taught us about sex with girls, the fight on Longfellow hill, lifting weights, the erotic Latin translation of Hannibal that nearly got us expelled, getting busted for smoking pot & subsequently being harassed for a decade by Rhonda Iracane, the ongoing saga of The Killer Christmas Trees, starting our first business together, fishing in St Petersburg, and of course...laughingly recalling all those "why I did certain things" from childhood after he learned of my transsexuality...like why I was waaaayyyy too into my role as a powder puff cheerleader at age fourteen - and finally, every single time...we reconciled after another meaningless disagreement.
Perhaps most challenging is the demise of shared memories. Sadly, much of the detailed recollections of my childhood were shared by few. With my immediate family having already passed, losing Rob was particularly sorrowful.
Rob was a dear friend: a one-of-a-kind persona. He was also loving & totally supportive of my gender transition. Alas, his death left me without a date to my next high school reunion. Figures he'd leave me stranded. *Laugh*
A wise person once enlightened me with this insight about the mourning of a death: "Our grieving is never over - until we discover meaning in our grief".
Alas, don't think I'll ever discover meaning in Rob's death - it was senseless. Rather, I'm thinking Rob's meaning was in his life - and the way he lived it. His murder remains an unsolved mystery. Someday...the truth will reveal itself.
I miss him now. I'll miss him forever.
and finally...to my hero
My close friends are aware I suffered the loss of my my mother to cancer in 2000. This was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. Having lost my father and sister to sudden tragedies - it was my first chance to experience the honor of being with a loved one during their final lap of living. Was also my first encounter with the horror of cancer - diagnosis to burial...was exactly 60 days.
"Mom" was a unique individual. The small handful of you who knew her know exactly what I'm talking about. She was an unparalleled listener - not exactly my greatest strength. However, her most precious gift was the ability to dispense tough advice in a manner which made others feel good. From my earliest years - many of my friends would simply blow me off in order to sit and chat with this wondrous woman. Losing her as my mother was difficult. However, losing her as my friend - remains forever challenging.
My family was the basis for my stability and achievements. I owe any success to the model of rugged individualism provided by dear 'ole dad - and my appreciation for unconditional love...to that lifelong trademark of my mommy. I can thank my sister for all those panties I borrowed without her knowledge. Promise I'll finally return them when I join 'ya in Heaven - washed! *Laugh*
Mom, Dad, 'Sis - ((Hugs)) & **kisses** to each of you. I miss you terribly! I'll do my best to live a life where you'll proud to look down & proclaim to other angels... that's our family.