Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Waiting To Go

I just posted "Chiang Mai" and was on my way to bed when I then found out that a long and dear friend is losing his battle with ALS, right now. By the time you read this he may well be free of the nasty thing and living in a place we can't even imagine.

Right now we wait.

I am trying to book plane tickets, knowing I won't get there 'in time', but also knowing that that is not the real reason I am going.

I first met Tom in 1987, at summer camp. In 1989 we both met Virginia. They got married. She is my best friend. They have two fabulous daughters. I could go on and on, but I won't. Right now I'll just say this sucks.

This end part came faster than any of us were anticipating. Yes, there is an upside. The drawn out, really horrible part isn't going to happen. It will be fast. He has pneumonia. His lung will collapse. Medicines have him comfortable.

It still sucks.

It sucks that he will be gone. It sucks that he had to experience ALS at all. It sucks that she will be solo parenting. It sucks that the girls won't have dad around. (And they had a deal! She would take lead when they were little ones and he was taking over for the adolescent years. That deal ain't gonna happen.)

It sucks that the rest of us don't get to share anymore in the things we had in common; learning to follow Jesus more, baseball, the outdoors, sushi, a good cigar, a fine wine, and an amazing university. There will be no more fishing stories or trips to Cabela's. The international limit for red heads in one place will not be pushed as far (everyone in both of our families qualifies).

Oh, the random thoughts that come into my head. I thought we had more time. I thought I had at least until this summer. I have great pictures I haven't scanned yet. Ugh!

It was way past my bed time when I got the 'come now' message. A message first because we wouldn't have made it through spoken words. We did sob on the phone together and then she headed back to the hospital room and I sit here, looking at screens, feeling very disconnected and torn open from the inside, and far away.

Flights for the U.S. leave here about this time of night. My passport is in a safe at school. It wouldn't have mattered if I still had it from last weekend's trip as I need a new 'exit/re-entry' visa each time I leave the country. I might not have even made it to the airport in time if I had everything and had gotten directly into a car. So I wait.

I know I won't get there 'in time', but that is not the real reason I am going. We knew I live far away. I told him this summer that I didn't know if I would see him again (fully believing that I would), but promising him I would be there, for them, the rest of his family.

I will be there to help get the details of the service taken care of. I will be there for anything and everything that is needed on that day. There will be lots of people that rally around them between now and then. I will still be there the following week as they try to figure out what the new 'normal' is. That is why I go. So they don't have to worry.

So they don't have to worry and because I love them. and him.


  1. What a heart wrenching slice of your life today. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Hold on tight to your friend as you all figure out the path towards a new normal.

  2. Oh, I am so sorry for your friend, for his family, for you and yours. I will be thinking of you and yours in the coming days and hoping you find comfort in one another.

  3. Oh Kristi, I am so sorry...Tom sounds like a much loved man...and the loss will be painful. I am glad you will be there with the family to help them find their 'new normal'...but know, that you will also have a new normal. While reading your post I wanted to know more about Tom and his family...and smile that everyone has red hair (my favorite). I felt your pain and frustration. I could relate a little to this as my brother-in-law lost his battle with cancer in November after being diagnosed in June. It was a terrible summer and fall...and the world lost a great man. But his children have grown...so they still had their dad when they were growing up. My heart goes out to you and Virginia and her family. Jackie http://familytrove.blogspot.com/

  4. Thank you for sharing your loss with us. We write to share, we write to heal. I wish healing for you and your friend.

  5. I was writing a future post about songs that are meaningful to me. Perhaps this is a time for "Amazing Grace". I am thinking that his chains will soon be broken, and he will have his freedom again. Your arrival will be a great comfort to your friend.