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Michael C. Esposito, Jr. | December 14, 1966 - December 1, 2023

Michael C. Esposito, Jr. was a remarkable individual who graced this world with his kind heart and passionate spirit. He was a dear friend to me and many others, a devoted brother, a loving son and a doting father, whose passion for life was infectious. Though he departed this world his vibrant spirit will live on in the cherished memories of those lucky enough to have crossed paths with him.

I had the pleasure of knowing Michael through photographing the restaurant for the magazine at Chef Volas over many years. Whenever I saw him there with his family, it felt like home.

Words cannot express the sorrow I feel in my heart for the loss of such an incredible person. Michael's passing has left a void in our lives but I hold onto the fond memories we shared and cherish them dearly.

To honor Michael's memory, I am deeply moved by the beautiful poems written by his daughter and Lifestyle Contributor Louisa Esposito. They are a reflection of the love and admiration she holds for her father, and it is evident that Michael had a profound impact on her life.

As we mourn the loss of Michael together, let us keep his family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. May his soul rest in peace knowing how much he was loved and appreciated by all who knew him.

Nick Valinote

By Louisa Esposito

My Dad is Telling Me This Isn’t Goodbye

Shining lights all around us as you take me by your hand and guide me through the room full of bright digital consoles, singing their electronic melodies, making me feel like I’m a kid right by your side again.

A box full of stuffed animals, all full of warm snuggles that feel like your warm embrace that now soars through the air, as you excitedly take me to the claw to win me one that I can hug like I do now with my pillow through my nightmares.

I see it now, just barely, as my eyes open to complete darkness by black-out shades, and an empty spot not just beside me, but also my heart, now drenched by warm tears rolling down my cheek like kisses.

But my dog is sitting in front of me, alert and staring like he can see. It is quiet, but his ears are pointed forward. Like a quiet whisper is hugging around him with a message that only those with ears pointed up high enough towards the heavens to hear. So now

my dog’s ears, along with the three little birds telling my grandparents that, “every little thing is gonna be alright,” and the light flickering “I love you” to my cousin, like messages carried by waterfowl flying a lucky seven miles, across the Absecon Bay, are all telling me that the heavenly someone who visited me in that arcade dream was you.

Really you.

To my beloved father, Michael C. Esposito Jr., who has shown me that he is always there for me, both in life and death.

Louisa Esposito

I Swear This Isn’t an NJ Transit Ad

Coming in and out of the trees, light strobes in front of my eyes as the sound of wheels rolling over steel tracks lull me to my peace.

On a path from green to gray, the sun is trying to dip it’s way into the horizon for the night even though it’s barely the afternoon.

After coming up each day, by December, the sun has exhausted all of its warmth. So the leaves shrivel and darken as they make their fall onto cold ground.

As the trees become barren, I collapse onto my couch and weep to the Sun: “Why must you go so soon? I’m only 22– I thought we’d have more time.”

And it gives me a weak smile and beams: “My time here is done for the day as I must show others my light. I am stagnant while the Earth is always roaring. It is inevitable that everyone will see your section of the world spin and carry on without me.”

So the tears keep rolling, as do the wheels of this train to Philadelphia on this 57th
anniversary of my father’s birth, an unlucky 13 days after his lively disappearance.

In the city, those tall bleak buildings often block natural light, so I know On December 14th, 1966, he did not see much sun, but rather human light.

As we circle into the station, Philly is golden as the sun kisses us goodnight, and the late light show begins. City lampposts, car headlights, and once-dull buildings come to life each night in Center City, but winter nights are specially illuminated by jolly holiday decor producing a colorful painting that only the humankind could create. These artists remind me

that even though the sun is no longer in our sight, it will rise again. But as my world continues to turn away from its warmth, and until we reunite at my sunset, I have my manmade lights.

To my beloved late father, Michael C. Esposito Jr., who has taught me that even though his spirit is no longer on Earth, his heavenly soul will continue to help my world keep on spinning.

Louisa Esposito
Lou, Michael, Louise and Michael Esposito Jr.