Glenn Robert Fernandez
JANUARY 14, 2017
Tonight marks a year since you left us. It’s weird to say that. It still, in many aspects, doesn’t seem real and there have been so many times where I almost picked up the phone to call or text you, but then it sets in that you’re gone, at least from this life.
2016 was an awful year but made so much more sense when both you and George were able to welcome your pride and joy, Steven, back in your arms. That image, of you and him in heaven, was the only thing that people could find comforting from his death.
One thing you’d be surprised by, but none of us were, is how many tears were shed over your leaving us. You never gave yourself credit for being someone that people admired, but it was clear as day once you left. The line at your memorial service was out the door for 2 hours on an incredibly cold day in January. There were people there from every facet of your life and I kept saying that if you been there, you would have been taking pictures left and right. As each person passed the large portrait of you and the beautiful blue urn, each one had a story about how wonderful you were. Steven was so strong throughout all of it, and again, I can easily see why you were always so proud of him.
On July 18th we dedicated a bench and tree in your memory at Wyndham. Most of the executive team was there, including the CEO, as was our entire department. Steve and I both spoke and somehow, I was surprisingly calm through it all. I know that it was because of you since we both know how much I hate public speaking. I just hope I did you proud. That was also the last time I saw Steve. He spoke beautifully about you and would have made you so proud. After the dedication, we spent almost 3 hours having dinner at one of your local favorites: Thatcher McGhee’s. I gave Steven a framed print with your picture and the lyrics to ‘Simple Man’ on it. It’s something I made for him after that song kept appearing for both he and I. Between hearing that song on the radio and having the Mets’ Jacob DeGrom use it as his walkup song, Steve and I both had no doubt that you were behind the fact that the songs kept appearing when neither one of us had heard it before you left us.
I also finally took your advice and left Wyndham, but not before I got promoted. Remember how many times we talked about that? In fact, the very last voicemail I have from you is typical… You talking in “Glenn Code” and wondering, “If there was any “movement” on my “treatment” there”. You knew how unhappy I was and always pushed me to find something bigger and better but honestly, you were one of the main reasons I didn’t want to leave that place. I enjoyed our daily talks, our cups of coffee and I always felt like as long as you were there, I could get through any tough day. Yet after you left, I just felt like it was time. You were always my go-to person for everything and when I returned to work after your death, I snuck out of a full department meeting to sit in your office, alone, while the entire team was together in another room. It was just as you had left it. A uncapped pen still on the desk, your notes all over your whiteboard and pictures of Steven and Brendan all over your walls. As I sat there, in the chair I always sat in, I could hear you telling me to take your advice move on. I decided it was time, but would not leave until the bench and tree were dedicated. Once that was done, I felt like I had fulfilled my promise to you, and done everything I needed to do for the company. I happy now—I’m working for a great company and love the work I’m doing. It’s fun, exciting and I’m being treated fairly, with respect and am advancing my career—all things you always pushed me to do. Steven thought it was great (and hysterical) that I was going to work for Avis, since you were “Mr. Hertz” and had even joked about sending me one of your Hertz shirts. He definitely had your sense of humor.
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year, but know that you are missed and thought of evey day. I have your plant in my dining room, along with your picture from Ireland, and water it every Sunday morning. It’s gotten much bigger and I know if you were here, you would have given me a Thank You card and signed it, “Love, Glenn’s plant”.
Steve was all set to come up to the house for a drink in late September, but God, obviously, had other plans. I was going to open the bottle of Malbec that you gave me for Christmas last year and share it with him, but with everything that has happened, I still havn’t been able to open it, but I will tonight. It’s what you would have wanted and we will toast to you. Rest in peace my friend and know that even after a year, you are loved and thought of each and every day.