Our friend Bob showed up every weekend to bring my husband coffee—I mean, to visit his mother–at the rehab where he works. Like clockwork, he would stop in with a Dunkin Donuts coffee and an egg sandwich and twenty minutes or so of chat. He looked forward to his visits and over the years they became good friends.
Bob had been complaining of shoulder pain that was not getting better, so Bill finally convinced him to see his doctor for an x-ray. “Just go do it,” he told Bob. Finally, he did.
The pain in his shoulder wouldn’t be going away any time soon.
Bob’s pain wasn’t from a pulled muscle, or a rotator cuff injury, or even a herniated disc. Bob’s pain was from a tumor that had metastasized to his bones from his stage 4 lung cancer that he didn’t know he had.
Really? Really? He went to see his doctor to fix his shoulder and came home with a terminal diagnosis and a four to six month prognosis.
He broke the news slowly to people on a need-to-know basis. His wife. His twenty-two year old daughter. And of course, his friend Bill.
Then, he went into overdrive. He readied his house for sale. He purged all of his possessions. He didn’t want to leave anything for his wife and daughter to deal with if he could do it himself before he died. He made an exit plan that focused on the people that he cared about, and he got it done.
He never once complained. He never thought about himself. Instead, he said, “Okay, this is how it is. What can I do to make this easier for my family?”
Bob died four months after he was diagnosed. He was fifty-two.
His is greatly missed.