I’m watching Steve across his desk. He’s obviously not had much sleep – he’s tense, on edge. I’m there to work on his wireless internet link to my AP downtown. Honestly, we’re only acquaintances, not close friends. But I can’t help but ask . . . .
“You doin’ OK?”
Sadness, weariness, fear stare back at me. “No, not really . . . . my wife was just diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We’re going to the doctor tomorrow to find out our options.”
I have years of experience with this particular cancer – at the time my wife was a 20 year survivor. We have poked our noses into Hell – and walked out. So I share our story with Steve, no guarantees (we saw plenty of folks die), yet we are a success story – and a glimmer of hope for Steve.
And so began a slightly closer friendship. We’re a small town so we would see each other frequently and our conversations usually revolved around how his wife was doing. Chemo. Nausea. Weakness. Healing. Strength. Hope. Success! She’s been cancer free for a decade now – ten years of renewed life with Steve . . . .
Until today . . . A note on Loel’s Facebook page . . . . “We’ve lost a local business leader today, he’ll be missed.” A quick check of our local on-line paper gave his name – Steve, 62. The questions are slowly being answered; indigestion – hospital trip – didn’t make it – probably heart attack.
We all face endings – you, me, friends, family – they come to us all.
I’ll miss Steve, his ease, our bond through his wife’s illness, his contributions to our community . . . . he actually made a difference in the life of our community.
Safe travels Steve . . . .