Dear Richard,

You are the kindest soul I have ever known. You gave me a job twice when I really needed one and held my hand all through my father’s funeral, assuring me everything would be all right. You instilled confidence in my five-year-old daughter, making her your Hearts partner whenever we played, and gave me the day off when my dog died, understanding what an important loss of a family member it was. We cried for John together the morning Bianca died, and have buried more pets between us than anyone should have to.

Struggling to write your eulogy today, I leaf through yellowed papers with fading ink, remembering some of the things we laughed about on those drives into work … and how certain memories always made you smile. I recalled that stupid license plate game we played more years than I can count, the pantries we stocked in anticipation of the end-of-the-world apocalypse, and the spool coffee-table business that was going to turn us into millionaires! Such humiliation when the peanut gallery wet themselves laughing. I thought about the time I accidentally knocked you out with two Miltown tablets instead of Excedrin, and how all you said was, “Don’t worry about it. At least you got rid of my headache.”

You, Richard Miller, introduced me to so much, my first computer, now the first of many, and so many treasured friendships I never would have known if not for you. All those trips to Vegas with John, Dale and Hank … where we once pretended to be married to get a free breakfast from a land promotional company—who made us sit through a boring three-hour business spiel. In the end, I guess the joke was on us? One year, you took me to the most beautiful secretary’s lunch at Musso and Frank, where we ended up meeting Buffy Sainte Marie. You graciously faked being as big a fan as I when you saw my excitement at meeting one of my childhood idols. “That was who again?” You asked when we left. One of the things I have most admired about you through the years is your simple grace and aplomb … the way you always sidestep any obstacle with elegance and dignity.

Through a blur of tears, I see your warm smile and those untold stories just behind your eyes. Knowing I will never hear another or receive another bone-crushing hug is too much to bear. Selfishly, I’ve been thinking how much I already miss you and wish you were here like the old days … wish you were here to help me get through this. I don’t know what I imagine you would say? Just something witty and wry—something that would whisper through the trees, “It’s all right … I’m here.”

Love always,

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