My friend Glenn’s prognosis isn’t good. There is absolutely no hope. None. Nada. I have been in constant contact with him since his diagnosis, and absolutely nothing good has happened. He can’t swallow, so a feeding tube has been placed. It boggles my mind how quickly he has deteriorated. A trip to the Mayo Clinic only brought him a second opinion that was just as bad as the first. He said that at least a consensus on his diagnosis has removed the need to make decisions.
This past weekend, I called the boys to tell them. Those were difficult conversations. The kids consider Glenn a part of our family. The boys were shocked, quiet, and deflated. In many ways, Glenn has been a larger part of our family than many of our closest relatives. We’re all in disbelief that such a senseless thing would happen to a man who has already had too large a share of misfortune.
There is never a time when I think of him that I don’t hear his voice. I knew his voice before I ever met him in person. We had been hired as a team, and our first contact was over the phone. I remember exactly where I was the first time he called me. I was filling up my car at a gas station by our local airport when my phone rang. His Jersey accent was strong, and his gregarious personality came through loud and clear. I was smiling ear to ear during the entire conversation. I knew immediately that I would enjoy working with this man, and I was right. There was never a cross word exchanged between the two of us. We were a team immediately from the moment of that first conversation.
I have spent some time considering this unique friendship, and I know that I have been blessed to have had such a good friend in my life. Glenn is the brother I never had. He’s the brother I wish I could have had. He has interfered in my personal life without asking and without being asked. He has given me advice. He’s known my deepest secrets, and he never judged me harshly. He has worried along with me, and he has shared joyous times. He has spent holidays with my family and evenings around the fire. He came to concerts when I was playing and to my kids’ graduations parties. He often over-stayed his welcome, but he never expected to be treated like a guest.
He kept his eyes on my kids. He told me what he had seen on Facebook that I may have missed (or had been blocked from seeing.) While this annoyed the kids at the time, years later they have understood that he was simply looking out for their best interest. He cared. No one asked Glenn to adopt our family, and we probably never lived up to the family he deserved to have, but he adopted us nonetheless.
And so now I am the annoying friend. Not a day goes by that I haven’t asked how he’s doing, if he needs anything. I remind him that I love him, and that I’ll be there for him in any way possible. Tonight he told me to sit tight. He said, “As things progress, I’m going to need you. For now, just pray. I’ll need you soon enough.”
My heart is breaking at the thought of a world without Glenn.