Saying goodbye. It is very easy for some, very difficult for me. At 4 this morning, I heard the ring from my Blackberry and saw that I received an email from a man of my past that was titled ‘Sad News’ … I had not heard from this man in a very long time so to find this email was startling and I jumped up half asleep to read the email totally wondering what was so sad in his life that would make him reach out to me after all of this time.
Never did I imagine that it was HIS familia informing me that the ‘Sad News’ was that he had passed away last Thursday. I must have read that email over and over and over, in shock, before responding. They had been trying to find me with no luck until they went thru his email addresses and found my address there. I wrote in my response right away and, within minutes, I received a call telling me that the funeral was today and that he had always spoken highly of me and that they knew that I would want to know. I was also invited to speak at the funeral. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend and have been very unsettled and sad all day. While I absolutely know that it was probably best that I did not attend, I somehow feel that I could not let this day pass without speaking about him and what he meant to me.
I’ve always been an outgoing person and can talk to anyone anytime … and, as I tend to separate my personal and professional lives, a select few people know when I am seeing someone and whom. I met him while, what else, working an event at a park. I was walking around checking out the booths and we started joking around and talking. I started seeing him at events, mixers, etc. and we became friends. I was just starting out in my very first job in radio and I was having a difficult time managing the stress and the expectations from my managers…bottom line: I was very enthusiastic and very inexperienced. He became a sounding board to me and helped me manage and organize myself so that I could be more effective … yep, I was fired from the management side but was kept on the on-air side. But he showed me the importance of bouncing back and I have done just that – time and time again – still in radio after all these years. I still apply some of the lessons I learned from him and I always wished that he would have put his lessons into practice more often as he had the intelligence and drive to accomplish great things…although sometimes his self-esteem would get the best of him.
Good times? He once told me that he had never heard so much music in his life until he met me … he liked straight-up old school funk ( I liked a lot of it and some of which I could do without), Jose Jose, Alejandro Fernandez, Marc Anthony, Sonora Dinamita, Salsa and I used to tease him about liking anything that came from ‘el DF’…he could not stand Classic Rock and I absolutely love it so imagine the arguments in the car to change stations … no need to go into what names he called my men, The Beatles LOL. God love him, he would come to concerts that I invited him to and, as I was working most of the time, he watched the shows alone most of the time…
There was the eternal Sac State vs. UC Davis battle for supremacy … I’m puro Sac State so you know we used to go on and on and on with what I thought of UC Davis LOL
The man would turn my stomach with his food combinations and I think that he took joy in mixing it up in front of me…try cottage cheese and ketchup on EVERYTHING but the one that really grossed me out was when he put in on pancakes and then put syrup on top. I still remember the one time he made me dinner with everything green – chile verde, guacamole, salad, etc. because it was my fav color and don’t ask me why he loved the way I made baloney sandwiches LOL
The not-so-great times did indeed exist and we could argue with the best of them. It finally did come to a point where we both realized that we were not what the other needed and I’m eternally grateful that we were able to have a great conversation about the things that we did want, and what we didn’t want, and , as sad it was at the time to let go, it was the best thing for the both of us. I was glad to see he was happy when he got married a few years back and I knew that, if the day came that I needed anything, that he would be there in a second and vice-versa. In the years to come, we did see each other from time to time to work on Marketing projects, and we were able to deal with each other respectfully on a professional level. While the last project never came to fruition, I always admired that he was always thinking, always creating, always trying to find a new way to market to Latinos — something that I try to do as well even today.
You played an important role in many important events in my life and, while neither you or and I can claim to be perfect, we did learn from each other. While I was not there to say goodbye when you left this world, somehow, I know that you will know that I’m saying ‘so long’ to you now…maybe we’ll see each other again. Rest In Peace Edward Mercado Salazar ” Ed, Lalo, Eddie, Eduardo ”