Tom has a friend he's known for 40 years who was diagnosed with cancer in April. For the past few months he and Joe have been trying to find a time to have breakfast, have coffee, get together for some normal kind of relating but chemo appointments, various schedule conflicts always got the upper hand and they ended up settling for communication via email and telephone. Yesterday we received an email from his friend's wife that Joe was giving up. We made the trip today, regardless of inconveniences and schedule conflicts. Tom is so good in these situations. He has a calming, soothing, rocking sort of voice. He held Joe's hand and told him that his wife would be okay; that he wasn't in charge anymore. He told him he knew he still owed him breakfast. There was a chuckle as only guys, one dying with labored breathing can do. We left and Joe took his last breath within 90 minutes. Very eerie to get that call. Unsettling in the way that it feels when someone your age leaves this world.
His wife's words to me as we left this afternoon were "Don't wait for an anniversary to take that trip. Don't put off things you think you want to do." I was reminded of an old Erma Bombeck column about candles that melted in the attic because they were too fancy to burn. It's a reminder, a warning, a story we've heard a million times and yet we continue to save the best for last. We put off doing what we really want to do, waiting for the perfect time, the perfect situation. We say Life is short, but we don't act like we really believe it.
Today. That's what we have. Right now.