Sunday, February 13, 2011
RIP Dear Coach and Friend
On Thursday, I received an email from an old friend who had been fighting cancer (melanoma). I was on his prayer list and got status updates from him as he sent them out to keep us all posted on his treatment and recovery. Thursday’s update explained a recent emergency room visit he’d had to make but reassured us that he was home, and that Hospice was there only to help with his recovery. “Certainly do not look at this as a here today, gone tomorrow situation,” he wrote to us.
Saturday, two days later, he was gone.
Mike put up an inspirational fight. In all of the emails he sent out, he was positive and upbeat, regardless of the chemo he was enduring and the way it made him feel physically. He and his family shared this incredible faith and belief in the goodness of God, in His immeasurable wisdom, and they never seemed to worry. They amazed me through all of this.
When Donna, Mike’s wife, sent out the email telling us that Mike had passed away, she put in the subject line, “New bass in God’s choir of saints.” I know that heaven’s doors swung open wide for Mike, and I love picturing him singing in a heavenly choir because I can only imagine how happy he is there.
I’m writing this blog for two reasons. First of all, Mike was a friend. He was my high school volleyball coach, and he became a colleague and friend when I began teaching at my alma mater. I have known him and Donna for so many years, and he will be missed by many.
Secondly, Mike’s death brought home to me (again) how quickly our lives can end. I knew he was sick, but after Thursday’s email, I never expected to hear news of his passing this weekend. We need to remember that each day is a gift and to treat them as such. We hope for tomorrow, but we don’t always get it.
And finally, I wrote this blog also because of Mike’s life. He and Donna lived their faith. Their belief in God was evident in the grace with which they battled Mike’s cancer. They knew they could handle anything because they weren’t handling it alone – God was with them.
They have been reminders to me that God is with all of us, and I, for one, am so grateful to have Him in my life. I pray that as you read this, He is with you too.