Friday, February 4, 2011

peace now my friend

This week I tragically lost a dear friend. He was only 49.
He peacefully left this life while sleeping. In his favorite spot on the couch, TV on, remote still in his hand.

Although it comforts me that he went like this, my heart is heavy and my sadness envelops me.

Memories surround us when we lose someone we love. I have so many of my Ronnie.

Our fathers were buddies in high school so there is some deeper connection.

When I was in elementary school, my family moved into his neighborhood.  Beginning of a lifetime friendship.  In 5th grade, I developed my first crush. Ronnie was my target. My friends, Jeanette Ramey and Janice Munchell, loaded our purses with rocks, knocked Ronnie down with them, sat on him so I could steal kisses.  Poor Ronnie. it's amazing we didn't scar him for life.  During the summer, Ronnie would hold Chemistry Exhibits in his basement and charge us kids to watch him do his experiments. My friend Tammy Bayliff and I paid to come watch. It was exciting and we thought he would blow up the basement (never happened). In these early years Ronnie & I had more of a love hate relationship. Although we were the same grade, I ran more with his little brother Richie (go HERE to read a post about Richie) and sister Kim. One summer, Kim picked me to go with them on a family vacation to a lake house. Ronnie still teases me about that trip. 1st~ I threw up in his Dad's new car. Not good. 2nd~ The movie Jaws was out that year and I was TERRIFIED. Ronnie & Bobby Hughbanks convinced naive me that sharks were in this lake... I know not too bright. Ronnie got in trouble for continuing to scare the shit out of me.

When we got to high school, Ronnie and I got closer. Especially our senior year. As I dated one of his best friends, and he dated one of mine. We were now spending just about every day together. The memories and laughs we share are unbelievable.

By time we all started heading to college, Ronnie helped me decide on Vincennes University. After not getting accepted at my first choice, and having huge reservations about going out of state to a very strict religious college I got accepted to, Ronnie had the good sense to tell me to come along with him to VU for a year. So, one Saturday morning, our parents packed us both up and dropped us off three hours south of Indianapolis to a little redneck town. We had the time of our lives... Ronnie was a clever guy as well as a fun guy. He always had adventures and "situations" to get us into. With the help of fellow Indy / Vincennes buddies, particularly Maurice Musser, we made quite a time of the college experience. We trusted each other completely. He was after all the closest thing to a brother I had. We were always trying to figure ways to make money to get us to Bloomington Indiana for the weekends. For a skinny little girl, I could hold my liquor well. Ronnie would make bets I could chug drink a small bottle (a pint?) of Jack Daniels quickly and not throw up.  cool. stupid. But we made tons of money with that little trick!

Our College year together bonded us even more. He was there for me holding me together when breaking up with my first sweetheart. And I was there holding him together when his break up happened. We took care of each other. We loved each other. We were a part of each other and who we were becoming.

Into adulthood, as friends come and go, I could always count on Ronnie. He could always count on me.

Ronnie was there with me the night I met my husband, Sergio. I made him come with me on our first date. Hell, I had both his siblings there too. We had a cookout, and Sergio invited them all as he knew how unsure I was about "dating" at that time.

Ronnie lived with us for a short period when he was between places. I loved that period and enjoyed our time immensely.

Ronnie and Richie were both with me when I went into labor with my first child. We were at a Saturday evening Mass dedicated to his Grandma Love. Completely made me think Grandma Love was involved as well in a part of Emily's grand entrance to the world. Ronnie & Richie came home with me, stayed with me, timed my contractions, and while Richie was hoping to deliver her with his pre-vet skills... Ronnie was freaking out trying to get a hold of Sergio to come home from work and get me to the hospital. We made it in times, and Ronnie was one of her first visitors.

Throughout the next twenty years, as I got busy with mothering, Ronnie continued to be a strong part of our lives. His friendship with my husband and I was always much more than friendship. We were family. I will always feel the Seats as my family. Sergio was very much a big brother to Ronnie. He guided him and loved him as deeply as I.

Ronnie was hilarious. Always. He was the go to guy to make you laugh. He was the King of Limericks and of the dirtiest of all jokes. Ronnie had a magical laugh. It was contagious. No matter how foul your mood, Ronnie could make you laugh.

Ronnie is one of the culprits that is responsible for my Lynryd Skynyrd, Molly Hachett, ZZ Top, and RUSH  love. I watched many a battles of air gutiar, Lynryd Skynyrd blaring with Ronnie almost always winning. I can't listen to this music without smiling.

Ronnie was crucial for me during some rough spots. When many friends didn't step out of the comfort zones and help me, Ronnie would. He understood my depression. Ronnie helped me. We would talk about some deep stuff. Ronnie shared things with me he couldn't with others as well. We had each other on this.

Ronnie knew how to make me feel appreciated and loved. He could set things in perspective for me when he couldn't always see that for himself. He said I was guilty of that too for him.

Ronnie was too young to die. He had much still to accomplish. He was so incredible proud of his son, Nick. He was such a great father and taught his son well. He pushed him and was so proud of his accomplishments. He was looking forward to his son's graduation and final college decision. He was extremely proud of both his brother and sister. He loved his nephews so. His parents as well. How hard it must be to bury your son. How unfair it must seem.

Letting go of this one is difficult.


ellen abbott said...

so sorry that you lost your friend.

TJ said...

Janis, your strength is beyond words and your love is awesome. Ronnie must be smiling at you now.

Anonymous said...

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Leslie said...


What a beautiful piece! Peace be with you too! It was so wonderful that you shared what a great person Ronnie and all the Seats are as well as your own feelings. Prayers to all.

Linda said...

I'm so very, very sorry for the loss of your dear friend Ronnie. ♥
This was a beautiful tribute.

JC said...

I am so sorry that your friend has past away. I can't even imagine the pain you are in. He sounds like a fabulous soul. How lucky you are to have had him in your life.

As time goes by, it will get easier. The memories will help you.

I wish I had someone like your Ronnie in my life. I think most of do wish that ...

Hugs to you,


Queen of...Whatever said...

that was a lot of good memories to have forever. Thank goodness God sent you such a wonderful friend It sounds like he had on in you, as well.....Sorry about your loss

Herrad said...

Hi Janis,
Sorry to hear you lost such a good friend.
Big hug.

Tina said...

This is such a great story. What great memories you have with each other. I am so very sorry for this loss you are suffering. I will be praying for comfort and strength for you and his family.

Anonymous said...
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An English Shepherd said...

So sorry for your loss, they do say the good die young...

rosaria said...

So, so sorry about the loss of your best friend Ronnie. This is a beautiful tribute in his honor.

Mark Pressley said...

Janis, I can say so much on the subject of death but will not just know you are not alone. I am burying another friend tomorrow it hurts hang on to your memories Ronnie was a funny guy and will be missed by many.

Rissa said...

Janis, This is a beautiful commentary and tribute to someone that you obviously loved and cared very much about. He was lucky to have a friend like you.You are and have been blessed to share such a special friendship.Sorry to hear about your loss.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jan-- I will print this off and treasure this forever as part of my memory file I am colleting for my brother. This post really set me off but tears of joy as much as sadness and regret. You me and Ronnie have so many memoires together from childhood on.

I still can't wrap my head around the fact he is gone. We were Irish twins and since Mom had us just over a year apart. I called his cell phone just to hear his voice again and it felt like he was right behind me. I now need to really step up and make sure I am more of integral part of Nicholas' life now--- Ronnie NEVER concieved of not seeing his son move on to fulfill his colleg/lifes opportunities. I will strive to make sure his son pulls that brass ring and makes his father proud. I will always have Ronnie's entire lifes memories to keep me going but boy this is a tough hurdle to jump over. Gone to soon my big brother and your sister, Mom and Dad have a more enriched life for having you in it for 49 years. I love you Ronnie and damn you for leaving us too soon. My heart just lost some beating pace since you left and don't think I can jump start it to get it back to what it was. I love you Ronnie and hope I said it enough-- I look forward to watching your son/my nephew succed in life and make you proud. That is always what you strived for Nick to accomplish. He WILL be the successfule engineer you dreamed he wanted to become.

I MISS YOU BROTHER--- Gone way to soon. Rest in peace and wait patiently till I can join you one day. We will have on hell of a reunion.

Love you---- your little brother Rich.

Herrad said...

Hi Janis,
I read your tribute to Ronnie again, what an incredibly movingly told rememberance of your wonderful friendship.
How lucky you both were to have such a friendship, you will always miss Ronnie but you will also always have your memories.
Take it easy now.
Thanks for sharing tour memories.
Big hugs.

Herrad said...

Hi Janis,
I read your tribute to Ronnie again, what an incredibly movingly told rememberance of your wonderful friendship.
How lucky you both were to have such a friendship, you will always miss Ronnie but you will also always have your memories.
Take it easy now.
Thanks for sharing tour memories.
Big hugs.

Fire Byrd said...

What a wonderful tribute to a true friend. We don't get many of those in our lives and to loose one so young is tragic.
So now it's one step in front of the other whilst time does it's job of healing.
Take care of you.

Bee Lady said...


So sorry to hear about your life-long friend. My condolences.

Cindy Bee

dopenbri said...

Janis, sorry for your loss. It was a wonderful post on his life, I haven't seen him since high school. But I have always wonder about my high school friends. It seems just like yesterday when we were in high school. His family will be in my prayers.

Your old friend!
Lee Hyatt Openbrier

Carolynn said...

What a beautiful tribute. He sounds very much like a much love brother. I'm so very sorry for your loss.


Anonymous said...

Jan-This is so touching! So happy I read this and got yet more stories of Ronnie. Sorry I did not get a chance to speak to you at the funeral today. I was busy with my boys. You have been a beautiful friend to Ronnie, Richie and the Seats family.

Take Care-
Ronnie & Richie's cousin from Wisconsin

Julie Harward said...

What a sad, touching story. You are blessed to have had tat kind o0d a friendship, few people do. (I wouldn't mind going like that..and he has gone to such a wonderful place.) :D

Charla @ Healthy Home Blog said...

Sorry about the loss of your dear friend! You're in my prayers tonight. (and so is his family)

Bridgette said...

I have been thinking about you Janis. You are in my thoughts. I love you!