Words are sometimes impossible to come up with, especially in situations where the person is one you care about is going through something life threatening. In a face to face conversation, or even one on facebook, or in a text message or email, it can be a struggle. You don’t want to sound cliched and say things like “We believe in you” or “Is there anything I can do to help..” etc.. and you don’t want to say an inappropriate thing, either. I hate coming across as shallow/hollow or insincere; this is why I think I convey my thoughts better through writing blogs like this, than by phone calls or conversation. It gives me time to gather my thoughts and to say things I can’t verbalize.
A few years ago I wrote a long note I wanted delivered to my Great-Uncle Hartley as he lie in bed in a hospital room in Florida. He had just had a major stroke…he still had his wits about him, but it had been communicated to the rest of the family that he wished to “have the plug pulled.” I wrote a long note, basically thanking him for all of the memories and making me feel needed; keeping in touch through email and asking me computer advice. Unfortunately, my note didn’t reach him in time. One of his daughters appreciated the letter, and holds on to it. I then wrote a eulogy that my dad read since I couldn’t make it down to his funeral.
I never got to say to him everything I wanted to in time. The same went for my mother’s mother; When I last said goodbye to her, she was lying in bed completely unaware of who I was (I think, although she had a smile on her face and said “see you later” as I left the room.. I then went into a nearby bathroom and cried for 10 minutes). I still never got to say to her everything I wanted to; too much time would pass between actual visits due to distance, and parkinson’s is an evil monster. Dad’s dad moved away and soon died after. I was too young to thank him for what he did for me.
I don’t want to do this again. But I don’t want the other person to presume that I’m assuming he’s going to die from this in the near future. There’s nothing wrong, however, with saying thanks to a friend who has done so many things for myself and John over the years, whether he’s got 10 weeks or 20 years left.
The thanks aren’t just for helping us buy a house, or leaf blowing our yard, or taking us out to dinner or having us over for dinner. Those things pale in comparison to what means the most to us: Your genuine concern for our well being. Your company. Your advice (it’s like having a “Canadian Father”), whether it’s easy to follow or not, and in some cases you told us what we needed to hear, not necessarily what we wanted to hear. Your determination to always do the right thing. John and I both know that you will always have our back, and we will always have yours. How many people can honestly say that they are lucky enough to have friends like this? Not just someone whose company we enjoy, but someone who has had a profound impact on our lives.
Here’s to you, my friend, and you know who you are.
Dave and John, Hokie and Dexter (and even the cat)