Strangers no more: Cory and Ameer, part 2
An addendum on a story that was posted on WNYCatholic.org last month.
Six days after our Epiphany Bill’s game encounter, which was also the anniversary of my beloved father’s passing, I received a message on Facebook from a random person I didn’t know.
This is what she said in part.
I work with Ameer and consider him a dear friend. I first wanted to say that your description of Ameer from your Facebook post is spot on. He is truly an amazing person. Thank you for taking the time to ask him how his day was going. I know that meant the world to him, during a very trying time.
I wanted you to know that I saw Ameer yesterday. He does not have Facebook so I shared your post with him. I felt it was important for him to see the impact that his magnetic smile and personality has on other people.
I thought you should know that his son entered into eternal rest last night around 10:30 p.m.
Ameer was so touched by your encounter and what you wrote.
It was a gift that Ameer got to hear your special story just a few hours before his son would take his final breaths.
We actually cried together yesterday when I shared it with him. This world needs more people like you!
Again, thank you for living by your father’s philosophy of “strangers no more.”
I firmly believe we meet the right people when we truly need them.
I was deeply moved to know that Ameer’s son died on the same night my father passed, the second Saturday of January, the weekend following the Epiphany of the Lord and the eve of the feast of the baptism of Jesus.
This day has always had special significance for me, because of how much my father loved the water. That he died on the eve of this feast, as did Ameer Junior will now hold an even greater meaning.
I attended the funeral for Ameer one week ago.
I was wearing a hat and a mask when I entered the church and had a wild unkept beard. The church was packed with mourners. I thought I would remain incognito and sit in the back.
I went to take a seat in a pew in the back when I heard a voice call out, “Cory!”
I turned around. It was Ameer. He recognized me and gave me a warm hug and said to me, “Thank you so much for coming my brother. I heard the post you wrote on Facebook. It’s incredible the way we met – strangers no more. Come meet my boy.”
He then took my hand and led me to the front of the church. I saw a beautiful young boy laying in his casket adorned in Buffalo Bills items and memorabilia. I will never forget the look on his face. It was a look of extreme peace and profound kindness. A soft smile rested on his lips.
Ameer Junior’s grandmother then entered the church. She was wailing and distraught. She came to the front of the church and we all embraced her, and held her up as she took in the site of her beloved grandson.
I couldn’t help but think of Mary as she looked on the body of her deceased son Jesus. It was an honor to share in that sacred moment with Ameer and his family
The Bills lost to the Bengals the next night, but it truly didn’t matter. It felt like so many gifts had been given to us from this past Bills’ season and the miracle in Cincinnati that touched a nation. We truly couldn’t ask for much more than that.