Another cruel trick that time plays is a sound that only older people can hear. It’s the sound of life rushing by. I can hear it as I type these words.
Something that seems to come more frequently with age is losing friends. When I was younger, it happened from time to time and was always brutal, but I’ve found that it happens more as I’ve gotten older.
This past week we lost one of our dearest friends. Steve Weisberg was a musician who’d traveled the globe in a Learjet with John Denver when the crooner was at the top of his game.
As sometimes happens when fame and fortune smiles on an individual, he began to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Things began to spiral out of control and he lost his job with John Denver, his house, his wife and money.
With the help of his parents, he got clean, and died this past week with a 24-year coin from Alcoholics Anonymous. He fell victim to cancer, which is the cruelest executioner.
We’ve made many friends in the clinic where Jilda gets her monthly treatments.
The majority of patients there are getting chemo for cancer. We’ve formed a kind of kinship with each other because these friends know firsthand what the others are going through.
Jilda is the type of person who can meet someone and 10 minutes later, she walks away with intimate details of their hopes, dreams, family history and love life.
She’s a rockstar in the treatment room. People change their treatment dates so they can be there when she’s there.
The sad part we’ve learned is that this group of friends die even more frequently. We’ve attended several funerals these last three years.
Last Saturday we had friends and family over for an old fashion fish fry. It was a picture-perfect day. One of her chair buddies felt well enough to come too.
We placed picnic tables with lawn chairs in the back yard, iced the drinks down in a No. 3 wash tub nearby, and we sat around in the shade of oak and pine to eat some of the best fried fish I’ve ever put in my mouth thanks to my nephew Haven.
I thought nothing could put a damper on the day but after all the guests had gone home, we learned that a friend that we’ve known for over 30 years who is a cancer survivor, found out this past week that the cancer may be back.
At this point, it’s not clear if treatment is an option. I’m sure they are wrestling with the decision of whether to opt for quality of life over quantity. The thought breaks my heart.
As I thought about the best way to end this piece, I remembered a song that Jilda and I wrote a while back that seems appropriate for this column. The song is entitled “Turn Around.”
“When you’re young you think you’ll live forever, Can’t hear the sound of life rushing by,
“See no need to be in a hurry,
You’re just along for the ride.”
These days the sound of life rushing by seems louder than ever.
Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Happens is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org