The first time I met José we hit it off. How could you not hit it off with José? I just can’t imagine it. He is so warm and...well, just plain nice. It was supposed to be a business meeting. We did talk about business. However, instead of a discussion between colleagues, it felt more like a conversation between friends. And that’s what we became. 

We spoke for over an hour. The conversation was a mix of business and person- al. Both José and I live our business lives so it wasn’t a far stretch for our personal lives to enter the discussion. 

Still, without any uneasiness or hesitation, José naturally walked the talk
into his life outside of work... with his husband Tim. Over the coming months I would hear about Tim a lot. I found myself anxious to meet him. 

As the conversation continued into other areas, José brought up that he loves to smile. He went on to say he loves smiles. In fact, I remember exactly what he said; “Anyone who knows me, knows that I just love to smile... I love to show my happiness that way... I love other people’s smiles... period.” 

Close to a year later I was out in my neighborhood. José and Tim’s home is one neighborhood over from mine. From time to time I would run into José. At that point José and I were more friends than colleagues. We spoke and emailed about business plenty. But it was as friends- not individuals attempting to sell each other something. On this one particular day, José was not alone. He was with Tim and Avery and their dog, Sasha. I finally got to meet the famous Tim! Admittedly, at the time of the encounter I was thinking more about how I was not really fit to meet any- one at that moment- in the middle of a summer jog. However, now, as I think back on that day, I remember Tim’s smile. And then all I can think about are José’s feelings about smiles.

Tim had a great smile. It was big, and welcoming, and friendly. You could tell that Tim loved to smile and be happy. Tim had a genuine smile. Tim’s smile had power.

When someone passes away, their obituary usually says: “he is survived by...” I’ve never given that statement much thought. Tim is survived by José and Avery. In this case, I think it means Tim will live on. He will live on as José continues the life they planned together. And he will live on in Avery’s smile. 

There will be difficult times- especially in the beginning, I’m sure. But whenever life is the hardest, José can see Tim again- in Avery. And he can draw power from his smile. Period