When a friend is dying, it's very hard to be realistic. Because every part of your self wants to believe that things will get better, that a cure will be found at the 11th hour, that even though nobody else has ever survived what your friend has been stricken with, you somehow believe that your friend will be different. He will be the one that wakes up one day, and for no explainable reason, is able to walk, talk, and breathe independently once more.
But then there comes a point, when prayers and hopes for healing just end. It feels wrong to even silently wish for anything except peace. And so thoughts fade from ones of healing to grace, and instead of turning over in your mind the possibility that this nightmare will end, it seems more appropriate to just think about your friend's children and hope that the trauma is as small as it can be. But then, I look at my own two children and wonder - how in the hell can the loss of a parent be anything except extremely traumatic?
And his wife? Who I have known practically my entire life? She will be left to not only parent these two grief-stricken children, but she will have her own mounds of grief to deal with. Her current nightmare will end and another one will begin.
He will never roll his eyes at her again. He will never burst out laughing at her implausible tales. He will never share her joy thinking about the two children they created.
On Thursday, my friend will take in his last breath. His pain will finally end. So much of him will remain in this dimension, and those who knew him will honor that spirit in our actions and in choosing the company we keep.