My Friend Ron

When Martin died, I inherited his friend Ron. It was several weeks before I knew I’d inherited Ron, but one day when he was visiting, he said to me, “Martin might have asked me to look in on you from time to time, and I might have said that I would.”

Ron and I had had our differences while Martin was sick. I found out he was bringing drugs to Martin and I was furious. I was so angry that I forbade him to come back. It wasn’t until Martin explained to me that he was only asking Ron to bring them because they helped him forget for a little while that he was dying, they gave him moments of blessed forgetfulness, of peace. He asked me to keep them for him and promised he would only ask if it got really bad for him, and that he’d only ask once. I agreed. He never asked; I think knowing that he could gave him strength.

Once I understood, I apologized to Ron and invited him back. Other than family and hospice nurses, Ron was the last person to spend time with Martin. The day after Christmas, just one week before Marty died, Ron was here, hanging out with his friend, watching t.v., laughing, remembering.

I’m telling you all of this about Ron because he went in the hospital a month ago to see if they could find out why he was always having so much pain, why his lungs kept filling with fluid. He texted me off and on as the days went by, and then I didn’t hear from him for a week. I made phone calls and found he was still in hospital – in ICU. I visited. I called. Many things happened over these past weeks. They discovered a subdural hematoma and performed a craniotomy. They found a UTI and treated it. They found fluid under his lungs in the pleural cavity. I saw him on Wednesday and he was alert but not oriented. And I finally spoke with his brother who lives out of state and is his medical proxy. Joe told me the worst news: on top of everything else, the diabetes, the lung issues, the back pain, the lower leg amputation, Ron has cancer of the liver and it’s metastasized to his bone marrow.

Ron called me a little while ago to tell me that he’d been given the news. He knows what it means – liver cancer is what killed Martin – and he apologized for “letting me down.” Through tears, he said he’s failed in his promise to Martin, that he won’t be around to keep an eye on me. The truth is, he’s been an excellent friend, he’s done more that I would ever have expected him to do. And through my tears I told him that.

I’m going to lose my friend Ron to the same disease that took my son, Ron’s friend Martin. I will miss him. I can only pray the hospital keeps him pain-free and that I can be of some comfort to him during these days.

Whatever you believe, I ask that you hold this man who is my friend in your prayers, good thoughts, healing light. I love my friend Ron. I will miss him.