Tuesday, June 26, 2012


She came in Saturday for the candles for the Church. I gladly got them from the basement and carried them to the cash register along with the votive glasses. "Yes ma'am. I mixed purple and green and blue, no red. Is that okay? I haven't seen you in a long time."

"Well, he's in the car but he's not doin' well today."

"May I go see him?"

"Oh yes."

I couldn't believe what a month of chemo could do to a man. A large man. A strong man. He couldn't even grin as I came around to his side of the truck. As I approached, he simply said, "I'm sick." My emotions got the best of me. I could feel tears coming. I responded, "I know." He continued to tell me about how weak he feels all the time and how awful it has been not to be able to do anything for himself. "I can't even put my clothes on." His voice was weak. His weight loss obvious. I could tell it was about his dignity. I rubbed his arm as he talked and I just listened. I don't know how he feels. I don't understand. I do want to cry for him. I just listened.

Sometimes he shows up in his garbage truck, "the truck" he calls her and sometimes he comes by when he isn't working. He always tells about his grand babies, his trips to Chicago to family reunions or his Church. He's always smiling and laughing about something. Except the day he told us about being sick. He's scared and he's tired and he's sad that he can't take care of his family at home and at Church.

He says again, "I'm so sick. I can't take care of myself."

"Let them take care of you. Let them take care of you." It's all I can say.

The words just slip right out. They are hard for him to hear but he knows he has no choice. "Yes ma'am. I will." He gets it.

"I will keep you in my prayers." It's all I can do.


  1. Oh Julie. This is so sad. I do hope the chemo helps him in the end. I will pray for Walter too.

  2. No, there is more than you can do for him than just pray --- and you did it. You spent time with him and, importantly, you touched him. Having spent a lot of time with dying friends in recent years, I found that often they are lonely and unvisited. People stay away because they just don't know what to say, but just visiting says a lot; it says you care. And touching says even more, it says this is personal for me. Personal, me to you, you to me, and both of us to God, in some way we are in this together, and you are not alone.

    Those are most important things to do, and you've done them. Now, as I often write, DNBA.