Gripping the edges of the dentist’s chair while the drilling commenced and waiting for the assistant to suck out the saliva in my mouth before I aspirate into my lungs, I feel my phone vibrate in my pocket. It’s 5:35pm on Tuesday. Given a brief moment of reprieve from the seemingly endless drilling, scraping and oh yeah; readjusting that dam device that keeps your mouth cranked open almost to the point of permanently creating a smile like the Joker from Batman I peak at my cell. “Alan just passed away five minutes ago.”
His estranged father at his bedside, his fiancé driving home from work having just left the Care Center (which I admitted Allen to just a week prior) a few hours earlier.
“He sat on the edge of the bed,” straining to readjust himself to get his cancer filled lungs to cooperate as best as possible.
He simply said, “I can’t hold on any longer, I’m ready to go.” His head dipped down on his chest. There were a few feeble attempts to fill his lungs with precious oxygen and he was gone. He left this world with a whimper, not a bang.
To some, Allen’s story was a tragic story with all the makings of a “tear jerker” you might see on The Lifetime channel. For others, it marked the end of a long and hard battle with the ‘The Big C’.
As I read the text while allowing the dentist to have his way with my teeth despite my silent protest, a feeling of sadness and helplessness overwhelmed me. The feeling of being beaten badly (like that one football game during high school that meant so much because of the long standing rivalry and the fact that going into the game hopes were high that we actually had a sincere chance to win), no, not beaten badly, more like being humiliated, pulverized and crushed by the opponent dwelled in my mind.
My only consolation is that he went quickly with family by his side and believing that God has some work ‘upstairs’ for Allen to do.
I’m not going to write a eulogy, a memory or even the way he touched all those who knew him or were part of his medical team. It was simply just a very difficult situation to be involved with.
This chapter of life is closed. A new chapter begins for all of us each day. Each day we have the opportunity to cherish those close to us, to enjoy them for simply who they are and how they make us feel, how they influence our days and nights.
So at the cost of sounding mundane and predictable…who’s in your life that makes it a little better place to be, a little more tolerable through life’s peaks and valleys?
Maybe it’s time to let them know just how important they are in your life…I know I will.