After the meeting, Dan and I walked down to Wheeler to check out the additions/renovations. A janitor let us into the building and gave us the grand tour. We wandered around for close to an hour.
I have two overwhelming memories of that evening. One is how excited and proud Dan was at the progress of our school. The other is gratitude that I actually took the time to go along with him to take a look. I remember him talking about his then-upcoming move to NYC & thinking that Dan McNeal in NYC didn't feel right. I had just moved back to Maryland and was bummed to hear he was leaving.
Dan's passing has hit me hard --- harder than I expected --- just as I'm sure it has hit many of us hard. At his funeral (which featured one of the most beautiful homilies ever), I saw many faces I hadn't seen in years. Even though I knew the impact Dan had on my life, I could see by the pained looks on the faces of our classmates how he'd affected all of our lives so deeply.
Even if you and I, or you and anyone else, weren't friends or just didn't know one another very well while at Loyola, it is profoundly important that we all realize those differences are as old as us (pushing fucking 30!!!! How'd that happen?!?!?), and truly unimportant. Let them go.
As I have struggled with Dan's passing, I have tried to find some good in it. Here's what I've come up with. Be good to one another. Be better to your wife, your kids, your friends, your family, and your enemies.
If there is one common thread in all of the stories people share about Dan McNeal, that was it. Be good to one another.
Sorry for rambling on. I guess I've been thinking about this stuff pretty deeply.
Please let me know regarding any events, etc in memory of Dan. I'd be honored to be involved.
Stay well, friends,