Take one look at a person and it’s easy to put them into a category. We often brand people with a label and then make assumptions about them based on the label we choose. I’m not writing this to shame or cast stones, we all do it and it’s unfortunate because I believe we often miss opportunities to learn about others due to such labels.
It’s been just over a month since one of the best friends anyone could have (and it sounds like he was a best friend to many) passed away. Just typing that line makes me tear up because it just isn’t fathomable to believe he is no longer walking this Earth or making fun of us who are, well, maybe he still is.
Lionel is a great guy. (I say “is” because I’m just not ready to say “was.”) See him on the street and one may see him as a label, but I am here to tell you unless you’re thinking of something like a soda where it’s label is full of ingredients you can't pronounce, your label is probably way off.
I don’t believe there is a label for him, as many would say:
“He’s just Lionel.”
Above I mentioned making fun of others is a thing he does. To Lionel it doesn’t matter whether your label is black, brown, white, gay, disabled, foreigner, religious, employed or unemployed he is going to make fun of you. He doesn’t discriminate and everyone you ask is grateful he doesn’t because being made fun of by Lionel is being loved by Lionel. With the teasing, often inappropriate teasing, comes the ear of a sincere listener, the unexpected gift because he was thinking about you, the assistance when you’re in need, a cross country drive to see a friend if only for a day, babysitting your kid, and caring for those who couldn’t care for themselves, the list could go on and on.
I hesitated to write this blog for fear I would ramble on but it’s my blog and I think I needed to write something as some sort of therapeutic exercise because I haven’t wanted to believe the unbelievable. Lionel is one of the most genuinely nice people I know. In fact, he is the only person I know like him. I sincerely believe his heart is too big for its own good, it’s full of service and love for others. If asked who I would want to be more like in my own life I would choose Lionel every time. I mean, really, as a gay man more girls let him touch their boobs than any other guy I know. Sorry. It was getting deep and my eyes are blurry with tears and I needed a laugh, remember this my therapy session.
I would answer that way - I want to be more like Lionel. Sincere, approachable, kind, caring, and loving to those who meant something to him and soooo many people meant something to him. I honestly don’t know how one person can make so many feel like they are the most important, he just does.
I’m so grateful to have known you.
I miss you buddy.