Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Fond Farewell to a Friend

I've often spoken of my family friends and how fantastic they are. Most of them have known me since birth. Many of them grew up with my parents and go back for generations. They are all in essence my extended family.

Last night, the first member of my extended family passed away. Eddie fought his cancer longer than the doctors predicted. Diagnosed almost two years ago, the cancer had already infiltrated most of the cells in his body.

But he was never dour; never lost his sense of humor. From the diagnosis forward he embraced life as I had never seen him do before. He went out with the crew more frequently. He laughed, he got by with the help of friends and family. He went balls out.

He lost his hair but gained his spirit. I remember mom telling me that in the midst of treatment (I think; my timeline may be skewed), he attended a legal conference out of town.

"Why did you go?" mom asked.

"Hell, I had to show everyone I'm still around!" he laughed.

That was Eddie. Wasn't going down without a fight. After I was diagnosed and before he went into hospice, I got to speak to Eddie in one of his lucid moments.

"If you ever need to talk, I'm here. You know I can relate, I know exactly what you are going through."

But he had it much worse than I do. Yet I never saw him complain or lose his humor. He will be missed greatly and remembered fondly. He and his family will always be an intricate part of my childhood. He will, of course, live on. I know many of you cannot grasp how I'm viewing BC—as a gift from above—but I get the feeling that Eddie understood.

I remembered that I recently scanned in some of the photos from my dad's college days. Eddie is pictured in both of them. All the others in the photos are still in our lives, as Eddie will be. I could call almost any one of these men and no matter what predicament I were in, they would be there. And they have been there, since my diagnosis. I haven't been able to bring myself to write all the thank you notes, but I hope you all know how much I appreciate the thoughts, phone calls, letters, concern and gifts. (I've never had so many Saks boxes.)

And since I am unable to make Eddie's funeral, I hope that his family reads this and know they are in my thoughts.

I hope these photos remind you all of the vibrant person Eddie was. Even with his eyes closed and tongue out.