I Lost My Closest Friend

The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.  — Hubert H. Humphrey

The past few days have been filled with emotions. This past Saturday, while listening to Christmas music and untangling Christmas lights in preparation to hang them up on the house, I found out that my closest friend, Alan Waheed, had passed away due to heart failure. He was only 41. I learned about his death through a voicemail I had received from his mother while I was hanging Christmas lights. She had tried calling me an hour after he passed away because she knew that Alan and I were very close. My heart sank as I heard her speak the words that her son and my dear friend had passed away. I was just thinking to myself while hanging lights that I was looking forward to hanging out with him later this coming Wednesday. He only lived about 35 minutes away in Anaheim, near Disneyland. We had just got to spend some time together during the first two World Series games. Our good friend Kris Boyd was in town for work and we thought it would be great to get together, grill up some steaks, and have a few brews while watching the game.  The usual shenanigans ensued… jokes, laughter, personal discussions, and some rib jabbing. It was great to catch up together. At one point, we were all working at VMware within the Professional Services Org, but even before that, we had all crossed paths in some shape, form, or fashion. Our professional IT world is so small, it still amazes me that we 3 have crossed paths throughout our professional careers. I’m thankful that we got to spend time together.

Alan and I spoke and texted just about every day. We could really open up to each other and if things were going sideways for either of us, we knew we could rely on being there for one another at a moments notice. It was a special kind of brotherhood that I was very thankful to have and will miss so very much. Our friendship started in an odd way. In 2007, Alan was looking for work and I happened to be the person interviewing him for our IT Architecture team. He was very well versed in what we did and I gave him the thumbs up. Regretfully, we lost the job req as things in the mortgage industry were winding down. All those bad mortgage loans really screwed things up for a lot of people. I’m not sure why, but we stayed in touch. Maybe it was that we had quite a bit in common or that we just got each other’s crazy weirdness. Later, in 2008, it was my turn as I had decided to look for work elsewhere. Alan caught wind that I was looking and he referred me where he was working at and I was hired. Since then, we’ve been pretty close pals.

When I joined VMware and had some time under my belt, I pulled him in. The rest, as they say, is history. We have both gone on to do other things. We had some great discussions, some long-winded debates, and some of the best back and forth banter about nothing at all. Alan served as a Marine, so there was already some camaraderie and mutual respect there. He was a phenomenal Dad and did all he could to provide for and make his little girl happy. Alan was a great brother. He was the eldest of 3 boys and helped to put his two younger brothers through college, even though he probably gave them a hard time. Best of all, he conducted himself as a man. A man that was loving, compassionate, empathetic, and non-hateful. I have so many great memories with Alan, too many to list here. I am proud to be able to call Alan a friend and brother. I am forever thankful for the time we did get to spend together.  I love you brother and I will miss you. I will continue to carry on like so many of those discussions we had… as a good man, father, and husband.

When you died, a part of me went with so that you wouldn’t be alone. As always brother, I have your six. Rest in peace.