Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Prayer Request

My heart is...fractured. If I admit it's broken, I will never recover.

Words from an old love letter I received from a dear friend - the man I would likely have married if I had not met the Beloved when I did. Seriously. We had a brief but unforgettable 3 week dating career (after much wearing down on his part) when I was 20 and he was 28 - a HUGE difference back then. He was so urbane, so worldly, so well traveled...and driving an ice cream truck as a summer lark college job like I was in the summer of '88, and waiting tables in a tapas joint so he could go back to Madrid for another year of goofing around before starting on his Master's degree. Me, well, I was swept completely off my feet by the intelligence and wit of this "older man." Yet at the same time, I was in my hard-core upwardly mobile future wife and yuppie wannabe phase in the '80's, and could not take the uncertainty and lack of a steady job. So I put those material concerns first and broke things off badly. Not cruelly, but in the way of a 20 year old in way over her head - unexplained silence. That's when I got the letter quoted above.

Ever the optimistic Irishman, he scaled back and muted his overt pursuit and kept in touch with me over the next several years. We even went on a group expedition deep into Mexico with a bunch of friends, and then he gave into his perpetual wanderlust, joined the Peace Corps, and went to Sri Lanka for two years. I agreed to sit down and "discuss our annoyingly platonic relationship" with him when he returned. (Quote from another, later letter.) "Quien sabe?" (who knows?) I wrote back.

A few months before he came back, I met the Beloved and never once have looked back. I told my friend of the whirlwind courtship and engagement. He was stunned, but congratulated me, and made a point of coming to visit me and meet "the lucky bastard." We met at a mutual friend's house and talked for hours, waiting for the Beloved to be done with work so we could all go out for dinner. In those hours, I saw a huge change - an added calm, gravity, wisdom and maturity in him that was lacking before he left - things he learned after traveling through Sri Lanka and India and witnessing "black holes" of human suffering on Earth. I knew then, as I do now, that if there'd been no blind date with the Beloved, I'd be married and hanging out at a US Embassy somewhere exotic, pretending not to know what my husband did for a living.

After an evening out with my past and my future menfolk, he pulled me aside, gave me a crushing hug, and said "Well done, Princess. I am no match for him, and worse yet, he's so nice, I can't even hate him." We both were teary-eyed. Even after I was married and a mom ("just letting you know you can keep your options open...just sayin'!" with the Beloved sitting right there and cracking up over dinner in Pasadena) we remained connected. I went to law school, he went to UMiami for his PhD in Latin American studies and went to work for the State Department. We've emailed a few times a year ever since.

Well, my dear friend "TK" passed away unexpectedly in his sleep this morning, after a ferocious 6-year battle with "atypical thymic carcinoma." Yep, an evil, rare cancer of the thymus gland. He leaves behind his Beloved wife and a four year old little boy - the baby they never thought they'd have after his diagnosis.

I am sure that wherever TK is, whether he's inside or outside the Pearly Gates, he's surrounded with other joyous, laughing, legendary Chicago Irishmen who didn't grow up until they were 35...listening to Jimmy Buffett, knocking back a few cervezas, and having a great time.

My heart is fractured tonight, too.

Love and will miss you until I see you again, TK.

May Our Lady Of The Rosary meet you with a smile and send consolation to the hearts of your dear family.


Jackie Parkes said...

I will pray before the Blessed Sacrament at the 40 hours today for your friend. God bless..

Kit said...

Thanks Jackie

Kasia said...

He sounds like a gem of a man. I will be praying for him too.

Angela M. said...

So sorry. So very sorry.

Anonymous said...

You definitely have my prayers. I just lost my sister-in-law to cancer this summer.

Philangelus said...


May perpetual light shine upon him.

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

bittersweet story

Prayers for your friend

Adrienne said...

Poor little son will never know his Father.....