I called a friend today who I knew had cancer only to find that he passed away two weeks ago. I was stunned by his loss despite the fact that I knew he was very sick. I watched my friend go through the various stages of dying as he struggled to accept his fate. He had so much to do before he passed over.
He was married to a beautiful women whom he had to help transform into a pillar of strength before he died. I heard he worked with her as quickly as he could to ensure that she could take over the running of their establishment after he was gone. I think it must have been very difficult on both of them because toward the end of his life there was so little time to mourn.
Saying goodbye I am sure was not easy for my friend because he was so reverent of life. He loved the open spaces and chose to discover them by water, he was an avid sailor. About a year before he was diagnosed he took a break for several months and took his boat out to sea. He was the happiest when he was sailing.
When he first told me that he was ill he was still in shock. It was a fast spreading cancer and he was really afraid. He tried to be brave but he knew that as a stage four he had very little time left. He eventually became very angry and decided he would do whatever he could to fight his prognosis.
This was a man who enjoyed living; he was not one to merely exist. In his later years he met his wife on a trip to the Orient and she swept him off his feet. He fell head over heels in love with her. The two of them were very close; they became the very best of friends. Because of the differences in culture, she did not drive. I remember one of his primary concerns after he learned he was seriously ill was to get her a driver’s license.
It must have been so hard for her to have to quickly adapt because they both knew he wouldn’t be able to transport her around town anymore. In fact, there were lots of things she had to learn at lightning speed. His bride of over fifteen years went from practically being completely dependent to a widow and on her own completely.
Saying good-bye is not just about the person who has moved on as much as it is about those who are left behind to find a way to bring closure. I do not think we ever really do. A laugh or a certain walk can suddenly bring back the most vivid memories of the departed person which leads me to believe that they never really leave they just move to our hearts and reside there in spiritual form.
I can hear my friend’s voice clearer now and all the words of wisdom he shared seem to come to mind as I grieve his loss. My life was changed a little the day I met him.
He was one of those rare individuals that always put everyone else’s needs ahead of his own. He was kind and considerate of my feelings and never made me feel as if I was taking up his time as so many people I come across do. He was one in a million and now he’s gone.
With his death comes his legacy. It is the short amount of time I had with him that now reminds me of how important it is to let people into our lives and to recognize how much they mean to us before it is too late to tell them.