Update 1/22/13: There’s a second part to this. After you read this, see “Dialysis and Death (Part 2)“.
My friend “Chief” died this week. He died on Wednesday and I found out on Friday when someone mentioned it. I’ll miss John. He was a very good friend, charming, obstinate, troublesome, but a good person.
I met John when I was at the barbershop where he worked. I had told my barber that I was in dialysis (I had just started back in 2008) and she said “John is in dialysis, too!” She introduced me and that day I gave John a ride to his center. It’s the same center I go to now. (There’s a long story about that in “Dialysis and a New Center” and I mentioned John there, too.) So, John’s been a part of my life for several years. We saw each other outside of dialysis several times before I changed to the same center. We “hung out” together at the barber shop. It was like being a teenager again; a hot Texas day, sitting in the shade on the bench out front of the shop, talking and more talking. John was a fascinating person who’d lived a rough life but it didn’t harden him. It made him compassionate. He never spoke harshly of people, even those with whom he had problems. He missed his mother very much and still lived in the house she had owned.
When I began using the same center as John, he would often get impatient and try to leave dialysis early. His friend Mayge would, just as often, tell him to be patient and cajole him into staying longer and finishing his treatment. She was like his loving, but stern aunt. She is small but packs a punch; like a sawed-off shotgun. It was rather entertaining to watch the two of them. Obviously, Mayge loved him and it was hard not to. As I said, John was charming but also obstinate and it took someone like Mayge to make him toe the line.
I just got a text very timely message from John’s family that they’re having a memorial service for him on Wednesday. I’m so relieved. I was planning to go by his house today to pay my respects but that answers my question and saves me the awkwardness of stopping by unexpectedly in their period of mourning. I’m glad they are doing that. I also called Mayge and spoke with her. I hope to see her on Wednesday. So, in the absence of John, life goes on and his friends pull a bit tighter together to comfort each other. Things will change I’m sure but I won’t forget John. I’ll add him to the list of my dear friends who aren’t with me but that I’ll see again some day and we’ll pick up where we left off. People die but friendship continues.
DevonTexas © 2013
So sorry to hear about the passing of John. A reminder – as if one were required – of how cruel kidney disease is. My deepest sympathy to all his family and friends.
I’m sorry to hear your friend passed. You have my sympathy. It speaks well of John that you would write such a heartfelt post about his passing.
All too often we don’t realize the impact we have on others. John knew his impact on mine because I told him how beneficial he was to me and my experience with finding a new center. I try to leave little unsaid so when the inevitable breaks us apart, as Death does, I don’t have feelings of remorse. And thank you for your sympathy. Tomorrow is a “celebration” of John’s life so I’ll have a chance to share this with his family.
So sorry to hear about your friend.It does not seem to be a good year for dialysis.We have had several friends and acquintances pass away in the past short while…..