July 7, 2018: I called a friend to talk about a common interest. His voice was quiet when he answered and I checked if this was a good time to visit or if he was with a client.
“I can’t talk well anymore,” he said. “I don’t have long to live.”
We hadn’t seen each other for a couple of months when he had shared with us that he experienced a couple of mysterious health incidents during the early winter that had left him feeling unlike himself. In late spring he was still trying to keep the situation under wraps from his employer which was difficult because his work is up front with clients during the design phase of projects. We were concerned, but assumed he would get stronger.
But he didn’t, and he won’t. His wife took over the phone conversation. Our friend was diagnosed quite recently with untreatable brain cancer and it is taking him quickly. She said they are limiting visitors to family. He wanted the phone back and told me that our friendship had meant a lot to him. We had a garbled last few sentences.
That’s the end.
We were supposed to talk about his writing project and a fundraiser for a nonprofit. And he’d tell a few good stories about his grandkids, kayak fishing, his wife’s garden and when he planned to retire.
Life goes on. His family is keeping vigil and we are cleaning the garage, going to the post office, talking about August and September plans. On any day someone is dying and someone is having the best day of their lives. No matter how many friends or family members we lose, the loss is always new because it has a different name.
In memory of Joe who passed away July 28. And Skye’s husband who also died in July. With warm thoughts for my first publisher who has begun hospice care. You will not be forgotten.