Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the loss of a very wonderful man. His name was John Morgan, husband to one of the most amazing women on the planet, Tammie Morgan. I can honestly call him “friend” because he chose to befriend me. That’s a big part of who John was, befriending whoever came into his life.
One year ago Johnathan Morgan lost his battle with cancer. I only met him twice, but that was enough to know so much about him. He loved football (Go Bears!), he was kind, considerate, compassionate and giving. He treated Tammie’s daughter as his own, and spoiled her rotten with affection. He appreciated everyone around him, and most importantly, he made my friend, Tammie, very happy, safe and loved. For that, I hold him in very high esteem.
I dedicated the second book to John, and assigned Phil Dawson’s middle name in John’s honor: Phillip Johnathan Dawson. It was at this point that I decided to take Phil out of the story. Prior to this event, the story ended much differently, but after John’s passing, I knew that I couldn’t just dedicate the book to him with a sentence at the front. It had to mean so much more than that.
With this in mind, I went back and rewrote the final three chapters, making them much more somber. If you have read the second book, you now know a bit of the story-behind-the-story. Removing Phil in the way I did reflected the pain and absence that would surely be felt in the final part of the series. Not because the story would be richer without Phil’s influence. Quite the opposite, in fact; because it would reflect something bigger. Just like the story, our lives were now missing a very huge piece and that hole that was hard to ignore, but real to the core.
And just like the story goes on without Phil, our lives really can continue without John. We miss him, and his absence is noticed. But in the end, his influence in our hearts will always be with us and we will have to face the next chapter of our own stories without him. His fingerprints on our past will always be there, influencing us as we tackle the next phases of our lives because we remember him for who he was, and hope that we can be as kind, compassionate and loving as he was to his friends.
Looking back is a good thing, sometimes. Not to dwell in that moment, wallowing in the agony of his being ripped away so suddenly, but to remember and honor him because he truly deserves it.
Yes, we miss John. Yes, we love him. And we will continue to do so as we move into the next chapter.
See you soon, my friend.