HAVE A HEART
2 January 2003
Our friend Will didn't host his yearly New Year's eve party last night. We have only
gone once or twice, because it's the pits to drive all the way into San Francisco on New
Year's Eve, but he's been doing this for years now, a place for Lamplighters to see in the
But he wasn't able to host his party this year because he is recovering from multuple
(that's not "multiple" but "multUple, since I don't know if it was
quadruple or whatever) cardiac bypass surgery. He has quite an irreverent sense of humor,
so he downplays it but since he was released from hospital and then rehospitalized when
some complication came up, this was no minor deal. He was able to be home in time for
Yesterday he sent a note saying "Things improve slowly, but at least I'm heading
in the right direction." I suspect "slowly" is the operative word here. At
least from what I hear, he seems to be holding his own.
Shortly before Will's problems developed, The Psychiatrist suffered a heart attack
while out jogging one morning and would have died had it not been for the quick response
of the UC Davis Fire Department. He had quadruple bypass surgery and seems to be doing all
Shortly after that, Ned's best friend's mother went to take a nap and just never woke
up. Her heart stopped beating. I wrote an entry about her as well.
Just before Christmas, Peggy's mother finally gave up her struggle and was gone.
Then Uncle Bill developed his heart problems, underwent surgery, and we all know the outcome of that.
I received a note this morning from a friend whose stepfather had been nearing the end,
said his goodbyes to the family on Saturday and died on Sunday. My friend sent me a copy
of the euology, which was beautiful.
This afternoon, I learned that the kids old high school teacher, Dave Burmester, about
whom I wrote when he was honored at his retirement, suffered a
heart attack this morning and is facing valve replacement surgery on Friday. I've sent
flowers. It seems the least I can do. It sounds like this is all going to be fairly
routine, but I don't think about "routine" and "surgery" in the same
sentence any more. There are too many things that can go wrong. Still, I'll hold the good
thought. This is a fairly young (well, my age, so he must be young, right?)
vigorous man who has given much and has much left to give.
They say tragedies come in 3s, but I think Mother Nature is going for overkill here
Or maybe this is what happens when you get to a certain age. Suddenly you come face to
face with your own mortality each day as you scan the obituaries to see if you made it
through the night or not.
Are there lessons we should be learning from all of this, as I felt so strongly there
were lessons I needed to be learning as I went through my very first grieving process
following Gilbert's death.
I suspect there are many here which are important--
First and foremost, never lose the opportunity to tell those special to you what they
mean to you, make "today" the day to say those things you intend to say
"someday." We never know if "someday" will come.
Live the life you want to live. Don't sit back waiting until the time is right. Make
the time right. Today, this minute, is all we can count on. Don't let the good stuff pass
by because the time didn't seem to be right.
And most importantly, take charge of this only body that we've been given. Give it a
fighting chance to reap all that life has in store. Don't couch-potato yourself into an
I'm sure Dave is going to be OK. I'm sure The Psychiatrist is going to be OK. I'm sure
Will is going to be OK, and I hope that everybody who knows them, loves them, or reads
about them will take matters in hand to begin today to be all that you can be (and that
does not mean joining the Army!)