One of Art's high school buddies called a week ago to say one of their classmates was under the care of hospice after a long battle with lung cancer. Four classmates who happen to live in our area decided to pay this long ago friend a visit yesterday.
Art found a card, passed it out to have everybody write a message, and drove them all to the other side of the island for their somber visit.
I was outside painting the shelves for the carport tool closet when Art returned. When he stepped out of the car, Art looked dazed and tired. He sat down heavily on a chair to tell me what happened.
The five friends had arrived for the visit. Their classmate's wife decided to stay home from work since they were all coming. The hour long visit was warm and happy. Despite a look of weariness, they could all see that their friend understood their conversation and was delighting in it. They spoke of the warm Honokaa days when life was full of fun and laughter.
Nearly lunch time they said they would have to leave. They stepped out of the room while the hospice helper and wife came to tend to their friend. Suddenly there was a cry for help. The five friends dashed in to find that their friend had stopped breathing. They helped to move him to the floor where CPR could be performed. Then with all these old school friends together, their friend died. They couldn't believe it. Their friend had died, and they felt helpless. 911 was not called because there was already a no-resuscitation family decision in effect.
Death had come unexpectedly; it was real and right before them.
It had been a rather bad morning for me. I'd been dealing with a lot of legal issues for the sale and transfer of our house from my mother to us, as well as getting ourselves organized for our trip to Maui and trying to finish my painting project.
Now, in perspective, my crazy morning was nothing. The unexpected loss of their classmate was painful, shocking and sad, but the friends were glad they could be there. They had lunch afterwards to just be together.
Art and I are finding our time even more precious. Death isn't on another street. It's not in another town or with an older generation. It's here and it could come at anytime. We need to appreciate each moment we have together before it comes to visit us.