Believe it or not this morning I attended a funeral and this afternoon a memorial service for two friends who died this week. Both in their fifties and both ill for a long time. The first, my friend Larry apparently suffered from a life long illness that eventually led to his death. The second my friend Jerry was like a brother to me and he succumbed to cancer after a twelve year battle. So I am not writing this to talk about how sad it is that they died. But rather to talk about how well they lived.
I knew Larry for over twenty years professionally and to some degree personally (we shared personal friends) and I never knew that he was ill. He was always cheerful, had a laugh that could cheer up anyone and never complained although he was probably not feeling well often. He seemed to enjoy life and probably had an appreciation for the good times that we all should have. The church was full of friends, former co-workers and church members all paying tribute to a well loved man.
Jerry was diagnosed with cancer twelve years ago and was told that he had two to three years to live. He too was in almost constant pain but never complained. Today a gentleman got up to speak and said that he has cancer and that in 2004 he was defeated, depressed and ready to give up and then into the Chemo room walked Jerry. He said that Jerry came into the room and announced that he was told that he should have been dead already and that he was a fighter and that everybody that had chemo with him needed to be a fighter. The man said it changed his attitude. Wow!
So I will miss my two friends. But they will always be in my mind and when I get up with my aches and pains I’ll remember that sometimes we have to put a smile on our face and keep it moving.