Monday, April 23, 2012

For the Love of Pete

Last Thursday, Mr. W and I lost one of our most cherished friends. If you read my old blog, you'll remember him as "Dirty Painter," a handle I gave him when he harassed me for not making him a star character in my posts. I named him Dirty Painter because he was a phenomenal artist who loved to create pictures of scantily-clad girls. We have one of his masterpieces hanging in our living room and just about everyone who ever visits compliments us on how amazing it is.

Dirty Painter's real name is Pete.

He was a friend of Mr. W's for close to fifteen years; roommate for five. I knew him for four and a half. He was the kind of guy that guys wanted to be like and girls wanted to be with. This man had charm and charisma like nobody's business. His personality was so big and bold, I don't think there are enough words in the English language to properly describe it. His energy—and huge smile—filled up the room the moment he walked in, and that was before he started entertaining you with hilarious stories and reenactments. "Whapow!" is one of his famous story-telling words that could describe anything from the sound of a friend's butt hitting the snowboarding slope to the pop of his imaginary gun as he threatened to shoot squirrels who were disrupting his garden.

I remember when I first met Pete, I felt like I was getting to see a whole other side of Mr. W that I didn't know about. One that included massive laughter and crazy hijinks. Pete was always up for a good time and always working on some sort of major feat—everything from making the perfect dessert to dominating in an ironman triathlon. I have so many memories of him killing it on the Rock Band drum kit when we were all here goofing off on a Saturday night, and making phenomenal pancakes for us to eat with him and his sweet, precious lady love Southern Belle.

In 2009, he and Southern Belle talked Mr. W and I into doing the Muddy Buddy race with them the day after Halloween. Of course they made it across the finish line far before we did, but were there cheering us on as we crawled through the mud pit.

That was one of the greatest things about Pete—he was a total warrior on his own, but also a huge team player. You knew he had your back at every second and would do anything you asked of him. When Mr. W was in London and the water heater pipe burst here, he was the one who came to my rescue.

Last spring, we were lucky enough to have Pete as a groomsman in our wedding and that boy tore up the dance floor more than just about anyone else. Some of the very best pictures I have from our reception are of Pete busting his unmatchable moves. At the end of the night, he was on his way out the door when the song Xanadu came on and (after I went screaming after him) he came back onto the dance floor to cut one final rug with me. I love that boy for appreciating Xanadu and disco.

I can't quantify the shock and heartache we felt last week when we'd heard we lost him. It still doesn't seem possible. Energy like that doesn't seem like it should be able to be extinguished, ever.

Over the weekend, Mr. W and I went to a breadmaking class we'd book after Christmas and as the chef was trying to do something she said, "Oh for the love of Pete."


That statement rang in my ears the rest of the day and has been sitting there since. Oh for the love of Pete. All for the love of Pete. So much of it out there for him. So many people adoring and missing him. The pain of his passing is directly proportional to the immense joy he gave us all through the pleasure of knowing him. That costume he's wearing above could have been his daily uniform. The boy was a warrior at heart. God picked the strongest man to join his angels.


  1. A beautiful post to a great guy who will be missed by so many, touched the lives of many and his legacy will live on in the hearts of many.
    It just doesn't seem fair that his journey was cut short;
    he had so much more to do and give in his lifetime.
    It was a pleasure and privilege to know him.

  2. What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful guy. I am lucky to have had Pete as my friend.

  3. This post made me teary and I don't even know Pete. But from what you've shared, he was an amazing man. I am so sorry for your loss.

  4. I'm so sorry. Please know - and believe in your heart, although his physical body is no longer with us, his spirit is very much alive. Still, it's heartwrenching.

    I just lost two people in a 10 day period last month and am still healing. I wasn't a huge believer in mediums, but I just had an amazing experience with one down here in Costa Mesa.

    Please email when you like if you are interested. It's pretty amazing and I want to share with you my story.

    Also, it gives a crack of light to such overwhelming darkness.

    He feels you.


  5. I don't even know Pete and you have me in tears. This was a beautifully written tribute and I'm so sorry for your loss.

  6. For someone I'd never met I am touched by the life Pete led and the way you've written about it here. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  7. Oh Mel, this was beautiful. Each of us loves...and I think attempts to ignore the idea that those we love, those we need like the air and sun, could vanish.

    I'm so glad he knew people like you; that he reveled in life instead of just walking through it. May such passion inspire us all.

    I will hold you, and him, in my heart today.

  8. This is an amazing post, Mel. Pete sounds like he was amazing while he was here, and I'm sure he's in Heaven telling stories to angels and saying "Whapow!" Thank you for writing this, and sharing your memories!


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