David Collantes

Verified ($6.50/year for the domain)

My friend

John was my dear friend for eighteen years. John was family.

John as my test subject.
John as my test subject.

Friends are not easy to come across. They are made, just like good wine, after many years of ageing. At a certain point they cease to be just friends and become family. They give you the best advise, uncompromisingly, unabashedly, unreservedly. They praise your virtues and take pride on them, but are quick to call out the stupid things you are bound to do. They are patient, they forgive, they forget. They listen, and they are always available.

John was my dear friend for eighteen years. John was family.

I was part of the group that interviewed John when he applied to work at the College of Business. His knowledge and calm demeanour make him the perfect choice for our environment. During his years at UCF he was very hard working, thorough, and almost fastidious with his work. But I have not come here to talk about his work ethics, though they were exceptional.

The old man, as I used to call him every once in a while, quickly became the older brother to whom I would go to for advise, the moderator of my often too outspoken mind. We always had good topics of conversation, and he was the only person I could talk to about religion, and politics without breaking a sweat, or raising my voice. We talked about anything, and everything.

When time came for Kent—my child—to learn how to swim, it was John the one who taught him on his swimming pool. Through the years, John and Ann’s house became instruction grounds for my son Kent and cousin Alyssa, which not only shared the swimming lessons and a fun time at the pool, but also enjoyed petting the cats and dogs, and consuming high quality hot-dogs, and hamburgers.

Years passed by and when Kent needed driving lessons, uncle John offered himself, once again, as an instructor. Who better than him, right? After all, John had my utmost trust, and it was patient, yet firm. Exactly the kind of teacher a fifteen years old needed! Kent today drives, and does it very well, thanks to John.

John had my back, and I had his. After I convinced him to leave his flip phone behind and join the smart-phone generation, we shared locations with each other as a way to provide backup protection, and often used our phones to share news and stories of all kinds, commenting on them.

When John got sick I tried to spend as much time as I could with him. I understood that because of his illness, the time I could spend with him was limited, but I made myself available to him for as much as he could have me. Although I was very sad to see him dying, I put up my best face, and held back my tears as he did.

I am here to offer my contribution to John’s life celebration. I am glad that I was part of his life, and that he was part of mine. The impact he made, and the many memories we shared, will live with me for as long as I do (and he knew that, way before he even got sick). I am profoundly thankful for everything John did for me, and I celebrate his life.