Carrie Classon informed me of you your current medical woes, as I am unplugged from all this fancy social media stuff. I am the hermit in the cave, as far as the internet is concerned, and fairly content with this situation, but oddly it does leave me uninformed about the lives of various people that have intersected my life and I throw a stray thought in their direction on occasion. This might be a long and winding road, but I will get to the point eventually.
First I was shocked when I went to your caringbridge page, not because of your serious medical issues, but because your hair was white. I know this sounds totally weird but it is hard when reality shatters the memories that have frozen people in the past. I see you as a young callow youth with pure black hair dressed in that snazzy neon blue and black checked suit. The white hair boldly proclaims that you are no longer young and that it has been many years since we have seen each other. Both are regrettable. One was unavoidable but the other could have been rectified, namely that we could have gone off looking for the fountain of youth and not aged. Ha, just kidding.
This leads to the second point that our society seems to think that aging is something that can be avoided, but when aging is done well is life’s greatest gift. Your collection of heartfelt comments from your friends and loved ones that have rushed across the country to come to your aid either in a physical presence or simply offering prayers or words of encouragement attests to how well you have aged. I think you have indelibly left your mark on those around you. I know I will never forget that suit. There is no better measure of a life than the love we give and the love that is returned to us. So you measure up, my friend. Have no fear.
Third, in reading your journal, I was simply agog at your courage and calm. I am sure there were dark moments and emotional outbursts, but your pausing in the midst of all your medical travails and misery to outline a course of treatment to mitigate suffering in others by outlining more clearly defined end-of-life directives, is simply amazing. And if you can make a joke with all your complex and vexing medical issues that, what with the surgery and its complications, you had forgotten that you had cancer, then you should handle your future, no matter what it holds, with dignity and humor. Quietly amazing my friend.
Fourth, you were regretting your inconstancy in your friendships, but no one ever gets that completely right. We always regret what we didn’t do with our relationships no matter how strong and true those relationships are. This only means that you are a thoughtful, considerate person. Those of shallow and banal souls are unconcerned about how they have treated those they love. By the way, you can’t hold a candle to be me in the inconstancy of my friendships, as I didn’t even know that your hair had turned white, but still thought about reaching out to you to renew our friendship. That is inconstant. I gladly sacrifice my self-esteem to lift a weight from your soul. See I can be noble as well; maybe not as noble as you, but still not bad.
Lastly, I want to recount one of the oddest things someone told me, which came from you, “I have taken up accounting as a hobby.” That is weird. In high school, you dropped another oddity on me, when you pronounced “macabre” rhyming it with “cabaret.” There is more that could be said, but this is already quite long. Not sure if this is the best place to post this, but I had to send it to you, and I am not up on all that fancy internet stuff. I wish you all the best and hope that you make a miraculous recovery.
Andrew Jensen, your high school friend from way back
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