The above photo was taken in Spring 2006. You can see another version with our youngest son here. Happy Easter to those who celebrate!
Last night, Jen wrote to ask me if I'd heard the news. I hadn't yet. It appears one of Tampa Bay's NBC affiliate (WFLA 8) meteorologists, John Winter, committed suicide earlier this week.
This is one of those death-announcements that just sucker-punches you out of the blue. Never saw it coming... John Winter truly was our favorite weatherman in Tampa Bay. We have complained more times than I care to count since moving to Mouseville™ that no meteorologist here stacks up to him.
As Jen mentioned, they really do become a part of your lives. John's newscast would start at 5 a.m. and when I had two newborns / infants / babies back-to-back and was up at all hours of the night and morning with feedings and fussiness, I would see his weather reports almost every morning. I had a secret "crush" on him that I'm not ashamed to admit. He was funny. And snarky. And dogged on celebrities in much the same way that I do. And he was NOT a morning person. He would show up to work half-asleep and downright grumpy some days, and you knew it was all due to the clock. I could so relate. He was known to leave his tie on the roof of his car in the mornings and drive off without it. And they even poked a lot of fun at him after he got married, because slowly on camera you could see his suit buttons getting just a bit tighter with each newscast -- as happens to all of us eventually.
He just seemed "real". Like someone you knew, even if you actually didn't.
And quite honestly, he was "in" my home more than my own family was. We lived in that house five years and my mom was only able to visit it four times, two of those visits being for the births of her grandsons.
So today I'm left a little bit sad. A little bit hollow. And very much homesick. And also distraught beyond words for John's family, friends and colleagues left to carry on.
Someone very close to me also committed suicide in very much the same fashion back in 2003, and it still hurts as much today as the day I got the news. Those he left behind will forever ask "why", and sadly may never really have those answers.
Thanks for the memories, John. You were already missed. But now, you are also grieved.