Friday, April 13, 2012

Goodbye, Joe

I saw Joe Costanza in front of Mrs. Field’s Cookies in the train station near my work. It was only for a moment but it was long enough for him to look at me, nod, and smile. Then he disappeared into the crowd.

That was in February. Joe had died in January.

I wasn’t surprised to see him. He always had a sweet tooth.

Joe was a remarkable friend: generous, kind, and funny. A gentle man, he had an uncanny knack for knowing exactly what to say to defuse tense situations or to take the pain out of sad ones.  He was an empathic listener who loved people. 

A Parkinson's diagnosis made him even more eager to meet as many people as he possibly could. His cross country bike trip in July, 2010, shortly after his diagnosis, raised money for Parkinson's research. It was a testament to his love of people, generosity, and great strength of will. 

This past October, Joe and his wife Linda visited Hong Kong where I now live. The speed, noise, and crowds of the city were a bit overwhelming for Joe. He enjoyed the quieter island of Lantau where my husband and I reside. One day, we all travelled further south on Lantau to the sleepy fishing village of Tai O to see rare pink dolphins. We hopped aboard a small fishing/tour boat and sped out to open water. And there the dolphins were, waiting for us. Joe was delighted and grinned ear to ear like a big kid. The dolphins smiled back. All was right with the world that day.

Thanks, Joe, for the chance to share so many good times. There was so much laughter!

If I could be at his celebration of life in Wisconsin where this is being read to others by Linda,  we would sing That’s Amore. It was a song Joe, who was a great tenor, loved.  I invite all of you who are reading this now to sing it for a great paisano, Joe Costanza.  "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore..."

Enjoy your cookies, Joe. You earned ‘em.

No comments:

Post a Comment