Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The greatest of these is love

Yesterday, my good friend Wayne died.

Sunday night at about 10pm he passed out in his bathroom, his wife is a physical therapist and is well trained in medical response, so she tried to revive him. He was completely unresponsive. He suffered a bleed in his brain stem. Surgery was not an option. He was fully unresponsive. He never regained consciousness.

She and her son used Facebook to get the word out to friends. So this was really weird, it was the first experience I had with Facebook being the method of communication for people sharing this kind of experience.

I woke up in the morning on Monday and while drinking my morning coffee checked in on the news feed and got the report. I called Doug who was on his way to a meeting, and let him know he should come home as soon as the meeting was over.

We were by Wayne's side by 2:30pm. And he was gone 3 hours later.

He was surrounded, about 20 people were in the room... we told stories, we laughed, cried and prayed. Laurel sang and forgot the words. But it was okay because it was pretty. And he would have laughed.

Wayne and Marcia have six kids. I've written about them here before, we have spent many fun days with them. This was not something I expected we'd all be doing on the first really super spectacularly beautiful day of the year... but there we were, saying goodbye. Suddenly.

It was surreal. Watching the numbers on the monitor. The beeping, the sounds. Every breath he took with the assisted device was a struggle. And then it was over.

When I got to the hospital, I got a sharpie from the computer in his room, and wrote a heart on each of the kids' hands. And I put one on my own. I wanted to put one on everyone. I wanted them to have a mark to be reminded when they left there that "the greatest of these is love..." Natalie took the above picture for me this morning. And I hope they remember always that they have each other, from age 20 to 7 down the line.

A friend of mine had said that as Christians we believe in heaven, we'll see him again. Death has lost its sting, but no ... it really hasn't. I rejoice in his faith and the fact we believe we will be together again. What I mourn is the now. The future events he will be notably missing from. The fact that while I'm here, I won't have him to joke around with.  And that I really didn't do enough joking around with him this last year.

So if you have a friend that you say "you know, we really should get together sometime," why don't you go ahead and set that up. Life is short, kids. And it gets shorter all the time.

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