It has been one year since my good friend left this world and embarked on his journey into the next. To say that he has been missed is more than an understatement. Since the day we all learned of the news of his passing, many of us who were his close friends have been struggling to know why. Although we did know why, we all knew of the demons he was living with and some of the past ones we knew he had fought and already beat.
As I struggled to really know why, to me at least it didn’t seem to make sense. Just days before his passing, we were making plans for visits, talking about starting companies and chit chatting about life and soon to be had adventures. A year later I still reflect on the why for my own selfish reasons. I know deep in my heart, Joe is in a much better place and I am sure he is getting everyone around him to have the best imaginable time or he is annoying the hell out of them.
As I re-read my blog from last year, I still get misty eyed. Some days I cry like a baby and I am not afraid to tell the world. Joe was my best friend, probably the best friend I have ever had in my short life. I have a couple friends who I talk to now and again but no one has ever been as close. I am normally a pretty self sufficient person, a lone wolf to say and making acquaintances is easy, becoming my best friend is a little harder. But this is not about me, just a point that Joe made me open up and experience life and when you were with or around him, you definitely experienced life. I have not spoken much about this whole experience over the past year, and probably held it in too much. At least that is what I have been told, but as I mentioned previously Joe was like a brother to me, so writing about him in this manner is very therapeutic for me.
I want to thank everyone who posted a favorite story of Joe on my last blog of him, your stories all seem to have the same theme, and Joe was the life of the party and always made sure everyone around him was having fun or he embarrassed you into having a good time. That was the true treasure of having Joe as a friend. As obnoxious as he could be at times, he was all about the fun. That is how I have chosen to remember my friend, is all about the fun, crazy life and the short time we had together. I guess you could coin the phrase “Bro-mance” had we thought of it years ago as a way to describe us.
I leave you this year my friend pouring out the Beam (never understood how you acquired that taste), the Crown and the Miller Lite in your honor, two fist bumps to the chest and a point up to you. I know you are just yelling at me to “Stop wasting that perfectly good alcohol!” but hey, since when did we ever agree? Just know this my friend where ever you are, you are missed.
I created my blog and the following YouTube video to keep him alive for everyone. I was shocked to see how many of you have Googled and found my blog just searching for Mr. Manning. I asked many of you to send in your pictures as well so I could add them and I did receive a few, so thank you. I also found some music over the course of this year that seemed fitting to me and I have re-released the video sorta-say. I once again hope that you enjoy it and appreciate it and keep the memory of our beloved friend in your heart. Click here to go straight to my YouTube site or click and watch below.