Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Dearly Departing

Our friend is dying. Of course, we’re all dying from the moment of our conception, but this friend has been handed a time frame in which he'll reach the end of his time on earth. We've been anticipating this day for over a year; actually, more like five years, since he had his first heart attack which left him in congestive heart failure.

After that, he had to have a kidney removed because of cancer. Once he recuperated from that, cancer was discovered in his liver. He had surgery to remove the tumor, but the cancer came back. We just got word that there's nothing more that medicine can do for him. He said a year ago that he's ready to go, but he's continued to be so vibrant that it's hard to believe his time is so close.

This friend became part of us by the back door. His wife is one of my best friends, like a sister to me and an aunt to my children. I was dead set against her marrying him and even threatened him with bodily harm (while dancing with him at their wedding) if he hurt my friend. Over twenty-five years, his love for my friend made her so happy that I couldn't help but learn to love him. Now, he's leaving us.

When we began this last year's journey through the killing cancer, I thanked him for proving me wrong about his marriage to one of my best buddies. I agreed to write a eulogy for him. I kept that promise, writing my thoughts on him as soon as we returned home from his house.

Yesterday, he, not she, called me with the fatal facts from his doctor. We laughed about what everyone would say about him after he's gone. I teased him that I was glad I hadn't sent his eulogy to him a year ago; that I wouldn't want him to hear any of the nice things I might say about him in case he lives longer than the doctors expect. I'd hate for him to have that to hold over my head.

Then, I got to thinking how nice it would be if we all knew what people would say about us after we're gone, so I sent it to him. There are some things that are worth the chances you take.