“I want my Memorial Service at the Venetian,” Rick told me too many times to count. “I want a slide show and a reception and I want you to do the eulogy.”

The first time he brought the subject up, he was preparing for a surgery to replace his 7-year-old ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator).

I, of course, wanted to stick my head in the sand and not talk about such scary end-of-life requests. He’d been doing just fine—able to travel, do a little sound engineering, and making the most of his long-term survival with CHF (Congestive Heart Failure).

“You’re not going anywhere today,” I told him, as they wheeled him down the hospital hall. “We’ll discuss this later.”

Over and over again during the following two years, he brought our conversation around to his need to make sure all our ducks were in a row concerning what was to happen at his passing, and I took careful notes.

Two months before he died, Rick began dictating his eulogy to me. I told him I was simply recording his Life Story; I could never bring myself to use the “E” word.

Yes, Rick wrote his own eulogy. He also picked the songs for the slide show, which included almost 200 photos from our short time together. He instructed me on the specific personal story he wanted me to share, and told me what favorite outfit he wanted me to wear for his service.

Ever the optimist, Rick had also wanted us to plan something special we could do together to celebrate our five year anniversary, since he’d had to spend Valentine’s Day in the hospital.

Not in our wildest imaginations did either of us think his Memorial would fall on that exact day, but it did. In a strange way, it was fitting. We’d come full circle. Five precious years—three of which were indescribably fabulous, the last two spent navigating a series of long hospital stays and deteriorating health.

I know, in my heart of hearts, he got exactly the Memorial he had envisioned, and I am grateful I was able to honor him that way. He was a great guy, and I shall miss his fuzzy little smile and boisterous laugh forever and ever.