Hospice has come to my best friend since adolescence home. He’s been on dialysis every other day for three years. We went in the U.S. Navy at the tail end of ‘Nam on the buddy plan. About half way through our enlistment he started having kidney problems.
Fast forward 2 transplants, skin cancer, lung cancer and various sundry ailments, torments and treatments later and there you have it. We have had an ongoing discussion over the years on matters of the spirit, God, religion and such. He’s a self-proclaimed agnostic.
“I’ve just always figured … we’re here and then we’re not,” he said on the phone the other day.
“The thing is,” he continued, “ I just want to keep having one more cup of coffee with Lillian.” (His wife and caretaker) “I just want to look out this window and see another sunrise.”
“I know you’re tired, man.” I said.
“Oh yeah, I’m plenty tired and you wouldn’t believe how frail I’ve become but I LIKE it here.”
I’ve always wondered how he kept on; transplants, dialysis, hospitals, doctors, shots and needles, pain and discomfort. Not just for while but for his entire adult life. His comments have echoed though and I see a hint of the source of his perseverance.
I’ve always believed in an “afterlife”. No doubt … no friction … just and evolving faith that assures another reality … another place of expanded awareness that I can call “resting with God.” So if I was suffering like Randy I’d just want to go home, I think. I’d want to let go of the pain and surrender into the universe that is abiding faith.
For him it is an end. For me, I suspect it would be a new beginning. So I’ll go see him three hours away most likely to say goodbye. We are both survivors of violently alcoholic fathers. I think we became codependent for many years. If I could give him anything it would be the hope and assurance that it’s not over. He gets another chance … another cup of coffee with Lillian.