I lost a friend yesterday, the husband of one of my close friends. I haven’t been able to figure out what words to put together on this. I want to scream and shout every obscenity there is until whatever divine justice there is reverses this insane decision and brings him back to us, but there’s just no point.
Similar to my aunt, it was a cancer of the lung that took my friend – although this was mesothelioma, most likely caused by exposure to asbestos-laden insulation when he was a lot younger.
I’m having trouble reaching for words. I want to write about how special he was, how he was always ready with a laugh or a hug, how he was a husband, a father, a sailor, a mailman, a skiier…a person who you instantly felt at ease with. I want to write about how I’ll always treasure memories of being out on their boat – where they showed me and my then-boyfriend the windmill out on Hull, where that same boyfriend would later propose marriage to me. I want to write about how much I appreciated the two of them coming to our wedding, and how they opened their house to us every summer for an annual get-together of friends and kids.
I want to write about how I wanted to come visit over the last few weeks, but how I had a bad cold that turned into some kind of insane post-nasal drip and kennel cough that made me worry I’d get him sick if I came within 20 feet of him. And so I didn’t visit. I want to write about how crappy I feel about not getting the chance to give him one more hug.
But I can’t. Because words aren’t coming very easily to me right now.
I got word of his passing while I was in a meeting, and it was like all the air got sucked out of the room. I was asked a question and, as I fumbled for an answer, I realized I’d run out of words. It took me a few seconds, a stutter…a pause that, to anyone who doesn’t know me well, probably looked like I was just trying to think of just the right, politically-correct terminology. Anyone who knows me very well would’ve seen that I just had my heart punched.
And this is nothing compared to my close friend, who just lost her husband, the father of her children, and the partner she’s had for more than half of her life. I want to give her all the space she needs while suffocating her with all the kindness I can muster…but I can’t find a clever, witty way to write that. So I’ll use what words I have.
My marathon walk in support of The Jimmy Fund was supposed to be in honor of Tim and in memory of Jackie. Recently, I had to add Rosette to my “in honor of” list, as she was recently diagnosed with lymphoma of the brain. I now have to move Tim to the “in memory of” list, and that just hurts. I hate cancer so much that I want to scream. And yell. And throw things.
But it won’t help.
So, I’ll remember him in my own way, and I’ll walk in memory of him because he was, like my aunt, so incredibly special and taken too damn soon. I suspect I’ll cry quite a bit as I walk my marathon. It’s easier than coming up with words. I can’t raise enough money to support the fight against cancer, not when it’s so incredibly skilled at taking away people I love. I want to make cancer hurt the way it makes me hurt. I’ll hope each step I’ll take along the 26.2mi route will be another nail in cancer’s coffin. They need to be.