He Is Dying A Long Slow Death

One of my oldest friends is dying and there is not much that I can do to help. He is not devoid of resources or options but he doesn’t like the choices that have been provided. You can attribute some of that to his unwillingness to see a doctor. He says that between the news, infomercials and the internet he has access to all the information that he needs.We have had brief discussions about whether it is worth exploring the options and he just shakes his head no. It is not of much interest to him. If this is natures course than so be it. He is a stubborn man my friend and not someone who easily deviates from the path he has chosen.

I told him in no uncertain terms that the path he is on is to the best of my knowledge…one way. Go down this road and you will reach a point of no return. He rolled his eyes at me and told me to stop being so melodramatic. I asked him what the children would think and he said that they would be fine, told me that kids are resilient. He stared at me and said that the one person who would have serious trouble with this was his mother. “She is not going to like it, but she will accept it because she has no choice.”

It is the kind of logic that you really can’t argue with. This really is his decision and there is not much that anyone can do to change his mind. For a moment there was silence and then he started singing:

“Some sunny day-hay baby
When everything seems okay, baby
Youll wake up and find out youre alone
Cause Ill be gone
Gone, gone, gone really gone
Gone, ga-gone, cause you done me wrong”


I rolled my eyes at his words and told him that he was being ridiculous. This wasn’t happening because anyone had done him wrong. It really isn’t a situation where you can say “why me.” He laughed hard at this and said no it is not. And then with a serious expression he looked at me and said that it is kind of weird. He never really believed that it would happen. I nodded my head in agreement and told him that I think that he is right. I never expected it either. Truth is that neither one of us really know where it is going to end up. It might not be as dire as we suspect.

But we are practical men so we decided it was better to be prepared for it…just in case. At that point I had said all that needed to be said. We waved goodbye. For a moment I stared at him and tried to picture the future and then I stopped. And with that I put my hairbrush back down and walked out of the bathroom.

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  1. Stan Faryna March 23, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Hair transplants are outrageously expensive but amazingly effective.

  2. Mark Harai March 23, 2011 at 5:01 am

    Jack – I am going to read your stuff more carefully in the future. Confession; I read it a few times before I commented… talk about obtuse!

  3. Leighann March 23, 2011 at 4:47 am

    I read your apology first then this.
    I love posts like this.
    Perhaps some readers missed your last line?

  4. Frume Sarah March 22, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Read it again, silly. I didn’t say that I wasn’t obtuse at all. Just that I’m not AS obtuse. 😉

  5. Frume Sarah March 22, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    So I’m a bit on the obtuse side when it comes to this stuff. This is beautifully written and I was in tears for your friend. But the last two lines have me wondering if this is one of those “I have a friend” stories that is really about you and not “a friend.”

  6. Stan Faryna March 22, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Been there. Done that. Likely to be there again and do it the same all over again. Lifting a bottle of Jack Daniels to you.

  7. Mark Harai March 22, 2011 at 9:30 am

    This is a deep piece here Jack.

    I am sorry for your friend. I’m also feel bad that you have to deal with his hard-headedness.

    I guess at some point in life, goodbye will just have to do.

    Crap, wiping a tear away.

    • Jack March 22, 2011 at 8:51 pm

      Hi Mark,

      I just wrote a post apologizing for this one. Unfortunately I have lost a dear friend so maybe I got caught up in that. Either way I should have been more careful here.

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