Celebrating My Friend's Last Birthday

6 years ago

Today is my birthday, and I did something I’ve been putting off for months and months. I called a friend who is dying. We lost touch about 10 years ago when I moved out of the area, his marriage fell apart and all those ties that bound us were broken. I’ve thought about him many times over the years and, well, you know how it goes. Life gets busy.

When I moved back here last year, I heard from people I had not seen in a long time that Jeff was sick. Cancer. Although he didn’t have the strength to work anymore and had given up his townhouse and moved in with his daughter and her husband, the treatments seemed to be working and he was doing well.

Mental note: Give Jeff a call.




Credit Image: richelleantipolo on Flickr



It’s not like I didn’t want to reach out, I was just girding my loins for a conversation with someone I hadn’t spoken to in a decade. A lot had happened to both of us in that 10 years and that kind of conversation takes time and energy.

Message to me: Our birthdays are both in June; it’s a nice time get in touch with Jeff. Do it.

Last night I heard the horrible news that the cancer has spread to his spinal cord and his prognosis is not good. Without treatment he has weeks to months. With radical intervention his time probably extends into the months category.

Bullhorn to me: Pick up the friggin’ phone and call your old friend. Now.

So I did. I was terrified. But on the other end of the line was that familiar voice, that sweet nature, that positive attitude. I remember that guy. We caught up quickly and recalled wonderful memories of our kids growing up together, the camping trips and parties. And we talked about the cancer. “Some people are here for longer than others,” he said. “I have no regrets.” But he’s hoping against hope to hold on until his daughter has her baby –- his first grandchild -– in November.

I hung up the phone with the biggest lump in my throat but a date on the calendar to meet for dinner in a couple weeks. It will be our birthday dinner, and we will celebrate the birthdays we have missed in the last 10 years and this, his last birthday.

Note to self: Oh God, oh God, life is short. Live like you mean it.

Lynn Forbes is BlogHer's VP of product.

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