Thoughts and Images


I'ts time I suppose, time to put some thoughts to paper, thoughts that have been rolling around in my head, thoughts that pervade, thoughts that sadden.

I went to Phoenix a couple of weeks ago for several reasons, to meet with a couple of clients, to spend time with my daughter and son-in-law, to scope out the possibility of working in Arizona, and to spend some time with my dying friend Steve.

Come to find out when I called him to let him know I was heading out to Phoenix, he told me that he was heading on back to Michigan, and could we please meet here first.

That was a nasty meeting.

Back in October when I last saw Steve he looked like a refugee from a concentration camp, and now, he looked worse. He had, after all, been sent home to die, the chemo had been stopped, hospice had been called.

We entered a big conference room, Steve and I sat on the one side of a massive dark oak table, his lawyer friend his assistant on the other. Occasionally I'd walk up to the board and draw out how the estate plan was going to work, at least as I undestood it, and how all the financial pieces were to fit together.I've done this before, only this time I had to add an even greater degree of detachment to the scene.

It is so surreal to sit and plan what's going to happen next, knowing that death stands right around the corner.

So we met on Tuesday in Michigan, and on Sunday I was on my way to Arizona. Steve and his wife followed me out on Monday.

Monday my daughter and I spend the day at the zoo and then went out looking at houses. The next two days were filled with various meetings for me, and I was unable to see Steve since he was totally exhausted from his trip back to Michigan.

Thursday found me at his house and although he was too sick to get out of bed, he asked that I see if I could get new cable service hooked up to his laptop.

It didn't take long to fix what the cableguy missed, and I helped clean up some other electronic bits and pieces. Since Steve wanted to sleep, I headed on back to the university to pick up my daughter.

I think it was while I was waiting for her 5:00 class to end that I shot the series of images you see on this page.

Friday found me back at Steve's place. It ended up that his wife took me out for a hike on Pinacle Peak and then when we got back to the house the three of us took a walk in the neighborhood.

Steve paused frequently, out of breath. He had prided himself on being in great shape, and now his jogging days were over, for he could barely walk.

They asked if I could stay for dinner and I called the kids and told them I'd not be coming home early. Woah, no parent in their house, after allmost 2 continuous weeks of first mother, then father. "Sure dad, we can find something to do."

Just before dinner we sat in the living room and watched the sun slip behind the rise behind the house. Steve joined us, but really didn't eat anything, maybe he had one bite of steak, maybe one taste of a veggie.

Soon though, he was tired, and he asked me to help him back into the bedroom. Slowly we shuffled across the tile floor, IV pole in tow, till we reached the side of the bed.

As I helped him into the bed he held out his hand, shook mine and said "thanks for all your help."

Sadly, I drove home.

I got a reprieve from the brutal ugly cold of Michigan, as my son in law's boss paid for my flight to be changed from Saturday till Monday afternoon.

You see, they own this NASCAR team and there was a race on Sunday, and since I had the camera... you can guess the rest.

So I came back to a couple of nights of hockey games, and a computer swap at home that has eaten up too many hours. However, the good news is that I've now got a computer that can keep up with the camera.

The bad news is that Steve and his wife are coming back to Michigan tomorrow.

Sunday I'll be a pallbearer.

Sunset from Steve's house, one of the last he ever got to see.