John Chris Connor 1964-2024

Sunday, June 2, 2024

This one hurts, this one hurts a lot!

Chris Connor, or as I called him John, has been my friend, my neighbor, my political sparring partner, my debate partner, and my listening ear ever since I moved to Sag Harbor. He was just amazing!!

His support when Jan and I adopted Sarah was beyond belief, and we would speak for hours about the process of being future dads. He introduced me to countless incredible people, many of whom I spoke with today on the phone. We are just all in such disbelief.

Living next door, we spoke to each other almost every day. Politics, life, interior design, or just nonsense when we had one too many. I could listen for hours to his passion for politics - let's be clear the democratic side of politics - and he had terrific points of view, without ever being disrespectful to the other side of the aisle. He was part of the campaign team for President Obama's '08 victory and could be seen in the White House after Obama's win. A wall of incredible photographs and memorabilia in his bathroom always brought a smile to my face! Of course, when we got closer to November 2016, he stepped up to the plate for Hillary and made sure to do whatever he could to help her win. 

And then that horrible evening happened, she lost. We, as many, were in total shock, and we texted that we would meet in the early morning after a night of no sleep. When we met, we cried, cried, literally for hours. Sitting on the sofa, watching TV, and just crying. It might sound weird, but this is one of my fondest memories of us being together. It was an honor to be with him during one of the moments when the outcome of his passionate, hard work did not pay off, and in which he showed me that side of utter brokenness in him. But like us all, we picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and started all over again.

We moved to Miami, and John left Sag Harbor for the city. No, we did not talk to each other every day, but we stayed in touch. We both sent texts when the other one popped up in our minds—birthdays, holidays, sharing a joke, and, of course, when something absolutely dumb happened in politics. We loved doing that, and we loved each other. 

Last Thursday was a good day. What we believed needed to happen finally happened while we were glued to the TV - John in NYC and I in Sag Harbor. When the verdict came and the counter went from 0 to 34, he sent me this text: 

"I'm crying like you found me on election night in 2016."

We jumped on the phone and spoke about the outcome and the excitement we both felt. Justice. He already had spoken to people in the White House, and his mind was spinning with how the next few days would be important. 

"And George…." "Yes, John…" I replied, "I love you, and it's been too long. Can we meet next week in the city?" "Of course, babe, I love you too, and I really would love to see you, and yes, it has been way too long. "… not know that less than 24 hours later, his time was up. 

As I said, this one hurts a lot. While I am writing my thoughts down, I am still shaking, and tears are rolling over my face. I just can't believe it. As some of you know, the last few years have been challenging for me. Even though we hadn't seen each other for 2-3 years, John was always there for me. Not seeing each other was never an issue until that horrible call this morning. I wish I had picked up that phone a bit more and gone to the city two weeks ago. 

But at least I had that call the day before John left us. The love I feel for him today is stronger than ever, and I know that, very soon, the tears will be replaced by a smile on my face. The lesson for all of us must be just LOVE. Choose LOVE over anything. Love everything and each other. Look how beautiful the blue skies are and how wonderfully green the leaves on the trees are, even on rainy and winter days. But most of all, LOVE yourself. By loving ourselves, we create a better world; that is a belief I try to live by. 

Till we meet again, dear dear John. When we meet again, just like in 2016 and last Thursday, tears will roll again because of laughter and love. My next Dirty Martini is a cheer to you!!!