Today I went to the wake for one of my best friends in the world. Patrick and I met when I started playing softball at a church my sister attended. Both of us were football fans and liked to razz each other over the fact that our favorite teams are in the same division. This made for some interesting conversations and Sunday afternoon’s while we cheered on our teams. The more we played on the softball team, and the more we hung out the better friends we became.
We started attending the same men’s small group for church, and as we lived near each other, we would take turns driving over to the pastor’s house. Over the months, these trips gave Patrick and I a time to share a lot of our lives and the struggles we had. We realized that a lot of what we had gone through in life, the other person had gone through as well. Patrick knew more about my life, my past, and my struggles than anyone in the world. He became my best friend and confidant for anything I needed advice on or was working through.
Patrick fought brain cancer a few times and suffered through brain surgery, chemo, radiation and still had a swagger about him that most people couldn’t hope to pull off. Although he didn’t share much about the cancer, I knew that it was always something he thought about. Near the end of his life, he was struggling with a few things and was having a hard time with them. We went out to talk one night and had a few drinks, talked about life and what he was struggling with. A few months later I received a call from him because we hadn’t hung out lately. I kept saying I needed to call him back, needed to catch up and say hi, but life was busy and it kept slipping my mind. A few weeks ago I found out he was in the ICU and his wife said that it wasn’t looking good. Within days he had passed on.
Tonight I went to the wake and seeing his wife and his mom, and hearing how he had the same thoughts running through his mind about needing to call me to catch up hit home. You’re not guaranteed tomorrow. You don’t have time to do stuff “later”. If you care about someone or you want them to know you’re thinking about them, you need to tell them now. Care about the people in your life and let them know you do. You may never get the chance to tell them if you put it off until “later”.
I’m sorry for not staying in touch better Patrick. I can only hope you knew how good a friend you were to me. Godspeed my friend.