Sunday, March 20, 2011

Not Surviving

Some twenty plus years ago I met a man who was destined to become one of my best friends in the world. He was very outgoing, talented, generous and humble. He got dealt a somewhat difficult hand in that he had an illness that affected his digestive system. The treatment twenty-five years ago was to cut his esophagus and shorten it. This also cut the portion of the Vagus nerve in half that controlled his stomach digestion. Ever since, the basic eating and digesting that we take for granted, was the source of disabling pain and discomfort for Tony.

At first, the bad days were limited to a couple of days a month. While keeping weight on was a struggle that would never go away, he was still able to remain active in life. Tennis, Golf, Bowling, Poker. . .he enjoyed all and he was better than most.

Over the course of the years there were lots and lots of doctor visits, hospital stays, specialists, MUSC digestive center, Mayo Clinic as things got worse. The last few years the tables completely turned. The good days became the exception to the rule. He was always in a lot of pain. Bowling, Golf, Poker, Tennis fell by the wayside. . .all afterthoughts. Leaving home was almost impossible.

We spoke on the phone often-he rarely complained. I wondered many times if I could live with the pain I saw him live with daily. I am afraid I don't have that much courage. Well, Tony doesn't have to fight that battle any more. Last night he died. He was 54 years old and he put a gun to his head.

I think my words are quite powerless to express the sorrow in my heart. I lay no blame, but this kind of stuff always screws up my head and hurts my heart. I know if anyone ever had a good reason, it was Tony. . . still it hits me in a tender spot.

I hope his family can come together and remember what a really good soul he was. I have a lot of grief today, but I know there will come a time where the grief will be able to share space with the somber joy of having been fortunate to have known such a fine friend. Rest in peace my friend, you are loved and missed.

I don't know if I will leave this up or not. ..I feel kind of selfish posting it. It does help to type it out though. Thanks for indulging me.


BrainMc said...

Never apologize for showing grief over the death of a friend. Suicide is delicate topic and the reasons are so varied. The reactions to the death can vary as well. Anger, confusion, sadness, emphathy and sometimes even relief or joy when the conditions were unbearable.

My mother tried it a few years ago. She became very depressed about her state of living after her aneurysm, subsequent strokes, brain damage, and massive weight gain. I didn't agree with her choice, but I have to admit, I would probably eventually have done the same as your friend if I was in constant agonizing pain all the time. It doesn't make it right or wrong, it's just the reality of how much we can take until we surrender and hope for a better situation when this life is over.

Financially, I always worry about the loved ones left behind after a suicide. Insurance doesn't usually pay off their policies but in some cases, the piling medical bills make living harder.

BWoP said...

I am very sorry to hear about your friend.

Josie said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss Mike. As terrible as it is for the people remaining, take comfort that it was his choice.

Memphis MOJO said...

You're right, we take things for granted. Sorry for your loss.

muhctim said...

Thanks for the kind words and thoughts.

jamyhawk said...

Sorry to hear of your loss

smokkee said...

RIP Tony