I'm not a religious man, although I do like to think I have a healthy spiritual side that can be replenished through good friends, good food, the arts, etc. However, I have learned in the past few days that a close friend is facing the end of his life, and I will ask for anyone who reads this blog to send a little positive energy to him and his family if you can.
His name is Pat Newman, and he was the best man in my wedding 20 years ago next month. He was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, last September. Six months later, he is unable to talk on the phone, unable to use his right arm, and is sinking fast. From all accounts, he is in extremely good spirits given his condition, and has been an inspiration to all who have been around him since he discovered this disease.
I learned of his condition from a mutual friend on Wednesday who spent considerable time tracking me down. Pat and I haven't spoken in years, not because of any bad blood but simply because we lived in different parts of the country. I am making plans to travel to Denver as soon as possible to see him. When I spoke to his brother this evening on the phone (Pat is unable to communicate over the phone anymore), and I asked how critical time was, Mike told me that Pat said "sooner is better".
I have no illusions that Pat has even a slight chance of survival, although his family and church are praying nearly around the clock for his recovery. As someone who has spent time with a dying family member I know what a toll this process can take. What I don't fully comprehend is what this would be like to endure for six months with things steadily getting worse. Listening to his father and brother on the phone I can hear the fatigue and pain even over 1000 miles of telephone cable and it breaks my heart. They are the ones who will be left behind to wonder at God's plan, and I grieve for them as much as I will grieve for Pat when he is gone.
So please, regardless of your world view and/or religious leanings, take a few minutes and send both Pat and his family as many good thoughts and as much positive energy as you can over the coming days. Thank you.