Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sudden Death

I got a call last night from my old friend Steve's stepmom. I was roommates with Steve's twin brother when I lived in Madison in the early 90's. I wouldn't say I was buddy-buddy with Steve. When we hung out, it was always with a small group, usually not just the two of us. Steve lived in Las Vegas for awhile in the late 90's and we would get together from time to time to watch Packer games. Like I do with most of my friends, I lost touch with Steve after awhile. I move somewhere, or they move somewhere, and before I know it I haven't talked to the old friend in years.

Steve paid me a visit a last year. Ok, he didn't come to Vegas just to see me. His dad and stepmom live in Henderson. We got together for lunch down at the Fiesta and had a good talk. Steve had brian cancer, but he was optimistic at the lunch that it was under control. He looked good, not much different than what I remembered. Steve was 130 pounds soaking wet, so weight loss that's normally associated with cancer wasn't as apparent as it would've been on one of heavier proportions. Steve talked about the cancer, how he lived with it and dealt with it. We talked politics and policies. On this, we'd forever disagree, but both of us always respected the others' opinion. That's they way it should be. If someone thinks exactly like I do, it's impossible to learn anything. We talked about the Packers, the fate of Brett Favre and our mutual hatred for Al Harris. I picked up the check. Steve didn't eat much. Cancer patients are no threat to the buffet.

Steve's stepmom told me last night that he's going into hospice care tomorrow. His tumor has doubled in size and there's not much more that can be done. He has 30 to 60 days to live. When someone goes into hospice, that's usually the final stop on the ride, a ride all too short for my friend. I have his number and I'm going to call him today. I'll congratulate him on Barack Obama's victory, yet in the back of my mind I'll be sad knowing that Steve won't be a part of the Obama years. I'll talk Packers with him. I don't know what else. Truthfully, with brain cancer, I won't know if Steve will know who I am. I don't know the damage that's been done. I have to call, though. God, what do I say at the end of the call? How do you say goodbye when it's really goodbye? 

The 2nd half of the Giants-Eagles game just started. Who cares?


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