I know I’ve mentioned a friend we went to college with who has been ill. I’ve sent him several cards and have been wanting to visit him, but our timing hasn’t been good. His wife was talking to one of our friends and mentioned that they needed help with landscaping so he volunteered and said he’d put out a request to the rest of our group of friends. In the end, we had fourteen or fifteen volunteers for this project. They live in a log cabin (that he built) on a wooded lot with a lot of flower islands and rock gardens. Since he has been ill, they haven’t had the time to really keep up with things and they installed a pool for him to use for therapy. Our men worked on the area around the pool and created a brick walkway from the pool to the end of their home. They also leveled out the area around the pool so it looked nice. The women tackled weeding and mulching and there was a lot of it to be done. I’m really not great at any of the jobs that were outside, so asked if there were things I could help with inside. His wife said I could do their dishes and I was thrilled, because it gave me one-on-one time with our friend who is normally surrounded by a lot of people. He kept calling my name and telling me to stop doing dishes. Although I wanted to do the dishes, I really wanted to spend time with him more. It was so great to spend parts of this morning and afternoon catching up with him and just talking. We talked about the medicines we were both taking (his were chemotherapy) and mine are more pain related. When lunch time rolled around, I asked him if he would like to eat with all of his male friends (including Rich) and he was anxious to do so. Rich was also thrilled to get a chance to spend quality time with him and loved every minute of the time they spent talking. When you’ve been friends with someone for almost forty years, you have so many memories and shared experiences and it’s so much fun to reminisce.
He and his wife thanked me repeatedly for the cards I had made for him and I’m so glad that he’s happy to get them. It means so much to me to send notes to my friends to let them know I’m thinking about them. I met three of his grown children today and all of them have taken time off of school and work, and moved home so that they can be with him.
When my father was ill with cancer, I had won a trip from work that was a pretty prestigious event. It fell one week after dad’s first chemotherapy treatment. The doctor’s told us that if he was going to have any significant side effects, they would occur a week to ten days after the chemo. (This was over twenty years ago so I’m not sure if this information is correct today.) So instead of going on the trip, I declined and took the week off work (as originally planned) and spent the whole week with my dad. I’ve never regretted that decision, and in fact, think it was one of the best decisions of my life. I got to spend one-on-one time with him and that was so much better than a trip with strangers. I told that story to one of my friend’s sons today as he has taken a semester off at college to spend with his dad. He said he doesn’t regret taking time off school either. Time with his dad means everything to him.
I pray for a miracle for our friend and will continue to send cards as often as possible. I want to make sure that no matter what, he knows we are thinking about him and that we will definitely find an opportunity to visit with him again. You can never make up for time that is lost, but you can make the most of the time you have and spend it with people you care about. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that life is short and time is precious and you never know how long you’ll have people in your life, so make the most of it.