Thursday, May 31, 2012

A.L.S. Lou Gehrig's Disease

One of the most important parts of my life concerns my friendships. Not acquaintances, but the close, lasting, unconditional friendships that are a real gift. I am blessed to have several of these close friendships. Through our best and worst times my friends have stuck with me and I with them. One of those close friends will be taken off life support tomorrow, June 1st 2012. He was stricken with A.L.S. a couple years ago and has been limited to a bed for most of the time since. He has remained a friend throughout his ordeal. He has maintained a sense of humor despite the constraints of this disease. We have said our good-byes and I will not see him again in this world. That is his request.

For decades we talked about going fishing together but because of work, family and some health issues we just weren't able to get together until about 7 years ago. We finally met one early morning at a boat ramp and in his fishing boat off we went. We fished all day long! He caught his limit and most of mine. That guy was both skilled and lucky when it came to catching fish that day. I believe I caught, maybe 5 fish all day while he caught upwards of 80. Same equipment, same bait, same spot: He caught the fish I caught nothing. There was no end to my embarrassment. As far as his part, he didn't razz me or even good hearted ribbing. We simply talked about our families, work, life and those elusive fish. It was a great day and the last and only opportunity we had to fish together. But that's the way it is with friends isn't it? You share what you can and savor it for a lifetime.

This is not a eulogy or a good bye. I believe life never ends for us, it merely changes. I believe he is ready for the change and I am comforted by that. As far as my friend Don, if there are fishing holes where he is going he'll make full use of them. His wife already has the picnic lunch packed I am sure.

I hope you enjoy, savor and appreciate your friends as I have learned to do mine.
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