This is a blue, blue day. I learned Wednesday night that an old friend of mine had died. R had stage four cancer, and he fought long and hard against it - multiple rounds of chemo and treatments, but it had metastasized throughout his body. He was very hopeful about a new experimental study he was going to get to participate in, and then, Wednesday, he had a heart attack. A bad one.
When I went to Colorado a few weeks ago, one of the main reasons I went was to see him once more. I didn't tell him that, but it was a main focus of my trip. In retrospect, he probably knew. A few of us were going to go out to lunch, but R ended up in the ER with a pulmonary embolism - so we hung out in the ER and had some time together there - the first thing he asked me was how to pot up some African violet leaves he'd gotten. He wanted to be sure that he would pot them up correctly, and he was telling me about the great garden he planted this year (all heirloom tomatoes). I was planning to send him some plants this weekend when I repot.
Here we are in happier days - I think this is about 12 or maybe even 15 years ago. It was right around Christmastime. I still have that dress . . .
Some friends saw him this past Sunday night and said he was so very tired. I got the call from them Wednesday night. And I'm just so sad. I'm glad R doesn't hurt anymore, but Jesus Christ, he was only 57 - this great, beautiful, vital man. It's just not fair. When I saw him in the ER he was so thin, and clearly ill, and yet still so focused on living. Such a great spirit. He was happy to see me, and I was really happy to see him. I'm so grateful that I went when I did.
My heart is breaking now for his partner, G, who had to make the same decision I had to make with my mom. How do you let someone you love so much go? And yet, when you know what they want, and you know they can't get better, how do you not honor their decision? When I had to make that decision, G helped me by just talking to me about it over the phone.
I'm looking at a card from my mom's passing - it's still up on my board where I see it every day, "Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones shines down to let us know they are with us." So, R, you are a star - you always were. I love you, and I will miss you. I miss you already.
When I see the stars in the heavens, one will be you, and G will know you're watching over him, and I will see your beautiful smile in the twinkling of that star and think of you with love.