Monday, May 11, 2009

Circle Of Life


A lot has been going on with me lately. I have been putting off writing this post but, I finally decided to go on and do it. I wrote a post about two weeks ago in which I spoke of going to my Air Force unit's reunion and having a rather humorous encounter with a drunken racist at a roadhouse on my way there. I spoke of how even temperedly I handled the situation so that it did not get out of hand and how I went to the reunion and was reacquainted with several people I had known throughout my 22-year military career.

What I left out was that, while on route to that same reunion, I got a rather disturbing phone call from a friend of mine. It seemed that another friend of mine had suffered a massive heart attack the day before and was in the hospital in critical condition. I was stunned because I had been out with this guy just two nights before and had even run into him and his girlfriend the day before that and he seemed just fine. I was just blown away by this news and with everything else that was going on, I couldn't bring myself to write about it.

Any of you who have a huge network of friends knows how news can get passed around and how a story can morph from one thing to another very quickly. It's bad enough when news is being transmitted by word of mouth but, email and texting haven't made it any better. I got a story that my friend was in an induced coma, his liver had failed, and he had to be resuscitated ten times to keep him alive. Then, I got a story that he had come out of his coma and was awake talking to people. None of these stories turned out to be true.

By Thursday, I decided to find out the truth for myself by visiting the hospital. I knew he was in intensive care but, I took a gamble that, since I knew so many of his people, I might get a chance to visit him. While I was en route to the hospital to see him, my daughter called and informed me that "she thought her water broke and she was on her way to the hospital to have my second grandchild.

At this point, my mind was traveling in one million directions. I entered the hospital, asked for my friend by name, and was told to go to intensive care. I wasn't prepared for what I was about to see. He had all kinds of tubes in him and he was breathing heavy. He was on life support. A doctor was explaining to his girlfriend, closest relatives, and comrades that, if he was removed from life support, he could die right away or he might breathe on his own but, the person we knew and loved was gone because there was no brain activity.

To say I was shocked would be putting it mildly. His closest friend explained to me that he had a bad heart for a couple of years and he kept it a secret. Further, he rarely took his medicine or made any attempt to slow down his lifestyle (you had to know this guy... he truly partied like a rock star). So, he had suffered a massive heart attack and was now brain dead. I had never known about his heart and neither did anyone else, including his girlfriend.

Well, they took him off of life support and miraculously he didn't die right away. He gasped for air for a few minutes and then, he turned his head toward the ceiling and just stopped moving. For a minute, he just looked very serene and peaceful. The doctor came in, touched his chest, and then said to all of us... "He's gone." I have never seen anything like that in my life.

Of course, the room filled with howling and crying and I stood there, numb and stunned. A man had just died right in front of me... I didn't figure on that! I left the hospital, got in my car, and called my wife. I told her what had happened and I asked about our daughter but, she hadn't heard anything yet.

The next morning at 4:26am, as you now know from my previous post, my second grandchild was born. Unlike my first grandchild, I was not present for the birth yet, I was overjoyed just the same. In a period of 12 hours, I had witnessed a death and celebrated the birth of my grand-daughter. As you can imagine, I was in an emotional freefall.

Saturday, I attended my friend's homegoing service. This funeral was a virtual who's who of people we've known for years. There was so many people there that we had to go in shifts to view the body. I know that he would've loved that.

Yesterday, I celebrated Mother's Day with my two favorite mommies... my wife and my daughter (and grandchildren) and thus, the circle of death and life came to fruition. I've purged myself for the time being. Now, I can go on. I still have some living to do myself. Peace!

23 comments:

Solomon said...

So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend Keith.

Makes one think when something like that happens. One minute you can be healthy and as free as can be, the next minute you can have something happen, and be gone.

At least I know I am in the heart of a loving God, and my destination is Heaven!

Amen!

Angel said...

Yes Keith, I remember the original post. I sat here for ages trying to think of something intelligent to say, some deep quote or something moving but I couldn’t.
The timing of the two was unreal. It is amazing that you should experience a birth right next to a death with extreme sadness then extreme joy within 24 hours.
What a rollercoaster! I am thinking of you.

Sean said...

Wow Man, that was heavy...What a sequence of events. Hang in there bruh!

Toni said...

So sorry about the death of your friend...We should always cherish those that mean the most to us while we can..because you never know.

Angie B. said...

A Death and then a Birth all in the course of a day....talk about a dramatic sequence of events. I hope you're okay.

Sunflower said...

That was an incredible sequence of events...I am thinking of you and praying for you to have strength.

Lisa said...

My deepest condolences Keith.

My fondest joy for the birth of your granddaughter.

Halo said...

I remember that original post...I guess there was too much going on for you to include this...and I can see how it probably was too hard for you to speak on this until now.Hope you're okay.

Vanessa said...

That was unreal..Your friend dies and your daughter gives birth all at once.Wow...I perfectly understand why you couldn't write about this until now..I might still might not be able to write about it.

Cheryl said...

Wow..I'm speechless, this was so moving Keith.

Brenda said...

So Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I feel so bad for you.
I'm glad you at least had a happy event to balance that out.

Capatin Jack said...

This story brought me to tears.

Jazzy said...

That was heavy man...All of that going on in such a short time period..I suppose you are in need of a small vacation by now.

Grover Tha Playboy said...

Man, this was a trip..You have had a lot going on.

James Perkins said...

Wow Keith..You took an extraordiany situation and turned it into even more extraoridany writing.

Simon Bastion said...

Great Post Keith...Thank you for sharing your highs and your lows with us.

Swaggie said...

So Sorry to hear about your boy...
I don't know how I'd handle that if it had been me..You weren't expecting him to go like that.

Tate2 said...

My condolences good brother. Incredible post.

Strongblkwmn said...

Sorry to hear about your friend.

Congratulations on being a grandpa for a second time. It's crazy how life works. You can be down one minute and ecstatic the next. The circle of line just keeps on going.

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

Sorry to hear about your friend. Wow at the events going on at the same time. God doesn't put more on us then we can bear.

Oyin said...

wow...I dont even know how to respond to this post.

But first and foremost let me sent my condolances to you. Im sorry about the lost of your friend. I definitely know how that feels...and it took me back.

So much is happening in your life, and its nice to have your significant other there to hold your hand...

clnmike said...

I am sorry for your loss.

Jillian said...

things always touch you a little deeper when you not only see it for yourself but have a deep connection with it.

i can't even imagine how these feelings ran through your mind body and soul as it was happening....

thank you for sharing...congratulations on your new grand baby...




KEEPING THE FAITH: RANDOM PRAYERS "ON THE DOWNLOAD"
























































"Mommy, can I go to Timmy's blog and play?"



































Click on image to enlarge for reading






Click on image to enlarge for reading



Click on image to enlarge for reading