We were friends for 20 years and there was nothing I wouldn’t do for her. She met the love of her life 10 years ago while she was in college in Flagstaff and they worked at a local department store together. When they started their life after graduating from college, they moved up to Portland for grad school. They pushed each other when they wanted to quit, the best kind of relationship motivation. And then it happened... They both became owners of their own companies and were able to sustain and actually make money by utilizing the tools and degrees they earned in college and they had finally decided to get married!! I, of course, threw the bachelorette party and was the maid of honor in their wedding, and soon after, their first child was born; he was born a couple months after the new Dad was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, metastasized to his liver.
It was after about a year of fighting cancer through chemo, radiation, and diets that it was time to say goodbye. So much had happened in such a short time. They had moved home to Arizona so she could be close to her family, still with hopes that he’d pull through. I got the call to come home to see my friend’s husband who was like a brother to me, for what might be the final time.
When I arrived, she picked me up and said, “oh by the way, we bought a house! Wanna help me move in?!” “Of course,” I said. Finally we were off to the house they were staying in temporarily, and I would get to see him.... I laid in bed next to my “brother” who was now skin and bones. He started to cry and asked, “Can you believe this shit?!” “No way,” I replied. He asked me what to do... I work in the healthcare industry and I had seen these battles before... knowing the odds and the severity of his illness, I asked, “Are you dying?” Many thought he was in denial at that time, but as he looked at me with
his watering eyes, he said, “yes.” “You’ll either make the choice for hospice and pass on your terms with your family by your side, or they’ll find you one morning already gone,” I said. “Don’t let her find you gone,” I said with a cracking voice. He thanked be for being straight with him, and helped me decide on a tattoo I would get in his honor, and he asked me to take care of his wife. I promised as I hugged him for the last time.
As I left the room, I asked her what her last wish for him was... it was for them to be together in the house they’d just bought for the rest of his days. We worked tirelessly into the night for two days, and on day three, he was brought home! I made my way to the airport with happiness and sadness in my heart. So happy to have helped a soon to be widow, my very best friend, achieve her final wish for her husband, and sadness because I would soon lose a brother. The next day they spent all day in bed, laughing and crying and hugging and smiling! And it was that night, at 2am that he slipped away in her arms.
He got to spend two nights in his home with his wife and son before he left this world. I’ll never forget the work we did, the tears we shed, and
the love I felt when I helped my friends.