Sunday, December 9, 2012

Too Young To Die

My son’s best friend died a few days ago.

He was only 55 years old. His problem started with a mole. A tiny brown spot. It didn’t look serious. In fact, it looked so innocent that he didn’t see a doctor right away. Even with much urging from the woman in his life, he resisted. “Please let a doctor look at it just to be sure it isn’t anything to worry about,” she pleaded. But he ignored her.

It’s a mystery to me why men refuse to go for medical help even when it’s possible they have a serious problem. Many illnesses, if caught early, can be stopped in their tracks. But too many men think it’s just not macho to see a doctor with every little pain. Sadly, countless numbers lose their lives because of such foolish beliefs.

Finally, the brown spot wasn’t tiny any more. It grew. And grew. And he realized it was time to give in. After a thorough examination and tests, the doctor said it should be removed. It was done. The growth was very deep as was the incision in his side. The pathology report confirmed their fears that it was melanoma! But doctors said they got it all and he should have no more problems.

And so... he went on with his life, working and playing and caring for the people around him. He had five children and an aging mother who lived nearby. They were a close-knit family.

About a year later, the tiny brown spot reappeared. This time he didn’t wait.

He saw the doctor right away. The news was not good. The melanoma had returned. All the treatments known to man were done but the growth persisted. Bigger and bigger it became. The man was finally told that the cancer had spread to his bones and there was nothing to be done. He had only a few months to live.

The pain was bad and quickly became worse until the only thing that helped was morphine. It hurt to get up, to walk, to sit. It just hurt. Continuously.

As the pain intensified, the doctor prescribed stronger doses of morphine. Finally, he couldn’t stay up. After a short hospital stay, his sister insisted he go to her house to be cared for by her with Hospice assisting. Reluctantly, he complied. After he was settled in, the first person he asked his sister to phone was my son. He wanted to see him right away.

For a couple of months, my son spent every moment he could spare sitting by the bedside of his friend. They talked and laughed about the things they’d done together over the years, and when his sister brought food for her patient, she always brought a plate for his friend, too.

As the time drew near, he slept more and talked less, but my son continued to sit with him all he could.

When he finally passed, only his mother and sister were with him.

Mr. H. and I went to his funeral yesterday. It was sad, like all funerals. But God always provides a good memory to help dim the pain of a very bad one. Thus, I’ll never forget the striking beauty of the dozens of red and white poinsettias that flanked the casket.

The first thing the minister said was, “Fifty-five years old is much too young to die!”

I agree.


Jean said...

Sad, but your right peg. Most men are like that. Too bad they have to give up life at a young age because they're to stubborn to go to doctors. Good post.

Anonymous said...

Great post. People need to hear about these things. Some people don't have to die young if they'd just see doctors regularly.

Betsy said...

Love this one peggy. It's sad but people need to be aware of these things. you're doing a service.

Jon said...

I love your comment in the last paragrahph peg. "God gives us a good memory to soften every bad one." Great quote! and true. Your son is a good man to spend so much time with a dying friend. said...

Beautiful heartfelt account of a needless death, a strong friendship and a young man's last days. Sad. Thanks Peggy.

writingdianet said...

Oh gosh!! What a very sad story! A similar thing happened to my father-in-law. He hid his health issues for awhile and then awhile longer, not wanting to ruin anyone's holiday. When he finally went to see his doctor, the diagnosis was bad--Stage IV stomach cancer. He passed a month later. Sigh . . .

Peggy~ said...

Sorry, Diane! Too bad men have to be that way.

Thanks for the input.