The title of this post comes from a Cheech and Chong routine. It is not a bad bit but the expression has a different sort of connotation to me. The reference is tied into memories of a dear friend who died after from complications surrounding cancer.
When he first became ill there was period of time in which the cancer impeded his cognitive functions so severely that he began to have severe hallucinations. During this time I received a number of interesting telephone calls from him in which he described being abducted by aliens and asked me to come save him.
As I look back in time it is interesting to see how naive I was about it all. Back then there was no question in my mind that the doctors were going to save his life and that things would just go back to normal. I truly never could have imagined that things would be the way that they are now, but that is a story for a different night.
The reason the reference has such meaning to me is that the docs were able to beat back the cancer and for a time he was hale, healthy and whole. He loved to tell the tale of his illness and how the hallucinations affected him. Every time he told it he referred to that Cheech and Chong bit with great gusto.
“Dave’s not here man!”
We’d all laugh and the conversation would continue as if nothing had happened. Like I said, naive and innocent. Who would have believed that anything could happen to us. We were still in our twenties and invulnerable. But life has a way of opening your eyes to possibilities in a way that can be quite unpleasant. Four years later he was gone and it was only a short time before a few others joined him.
What can I say other than it made a huge impact upon me. I learned not to take many things for granted and I grew a thicker skin. It was a hard lesson. It hurt and in some ways it still hurts. My skin still chafes when I can’t help friends, but then again I know how to shrug my shoulders and say that I have done the best that I can do.
Why am I writing this? Because I have a friend who is sick. It is a different sort of illness, but it is appropriate to describe it as “Dave’s Not Here, Man!” They aren’t in touch with reality. Their world is a very dark place and I fervently wish that I could do something to change it.
They may end up reading this so I am not going to provide any more details than I already have. All I can say is that I hope that they recognize how much support they have. I don’t know what is going to happen, but it would make me happy to know that they were conscious of how many people are pulling for them.
People say that we are born alone and that we die alone but I don’t believe that to be true. If you are truly lucky there are friends and family to accompany you. We may not be able to be there for the full journey, but our spirits walk with you.