“If you should die before me, ask if you could bring a friend” – unknown
He speaks in terms of weeks. Selfishly I want him to endure longer, so we can talk a few more times, see each other again. His candle burns his way. Still flickering.
Candles light rooms, set mood, show way, stubbornly survive, burn down to nothing but neither remember or care. Candles don’t make friends or leave pieces of themselves behind – like people do.
I’m not spiritual in terms of religious practice. I respect believers – some might be right. I am awed by nature, magnificence of the universe, by this planet and resilience. If that is spiritual, then I am.
If someone wrote a Sinatra tune, Gary’s should be His Way. He never met anyone else’s standard, didn’t fit family’s wants he tried so hard to please – but life events inspired him, shifted focus from aimless shameless playful wild young man to serious dedicated father with successes few understood. He failed many times at many things. He succeeded becoming a hero to me, long before he got sick. I cannot imagine how tough it is to face diagnosis, disease and death – but as I’ve watched, listened and learned, he has shown me his way.
I spoke with Gary yesterday. We discussed – first time in months – being ready to die. He says he is, ready to go, no energy left for fighting – barely has enough to eat, visit or function each day. Tell me, how do you tell the difference between heroic and stoic, are they in different places in some body part, or do they live in his spirit?
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: 2C/352F (down several degrees in the last hour), windy, freezing-rain turning to snow, big-big-wind, but traction surprisingly good, we walked the long hill into the wind and it nearly pushes us over coming back
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