Wednesday, June 8, 2011



This has been a week that I will never forget. Even if I wanted to I will never let myself forget the strength and courage I saw over a two day period and the weeks that preceded it.

There is no real beginning or end to this and I can only convey what I saw and heard and how I understood the goings on.

Over the last seven weeks, with quiet honour and indomitable spirit, one of my best friends stood vigilant and strong while his beautiful wife succumbed to cancer and was summoned across the river to the Great Ever After.

It wasn’t until last Saturday that I understood how bad things were. I got a phone call from Shawn’s closest friend telling me what was going on. Until that phone call I had stayed away and just kept checking in to see if my friend was doing okay or if he needed any help. I had not gone to visit his wife for fear of being in the way. Sunday passed and I did not know what to do. On Monday I found out things had gotten really bad and Randy and I went to the hospital to be there for our friend. He was tired. He would not sit down. His eyes were controlled but had worry in them. He spoke with clarity and Randy and I knew his concern was for his children. Randy and I visited with Shelley. I held her hand and tried to smile. She said “hi” and faded back into sleep. We left the room and stood by our friend in the hallway.

As the kids approached he never flinched, never wavered. They all went in to say what were likely their last good byes. Randy and I sat in the lounge and waited.

I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to fix everything but couldn’t do anything. I wanted to drag Shawn away, even for 15 minutes to just get him away and let his guard down. He wouldn’t have gone anyway.

On Tuesday I got a text telling me Shelley had passed away. Shawn was by her side.

I want anyone who reads this to know that I am proud of my friend. He displayed courage, caring and strength in what became an unwinnable circumstance. Not once did I hear him bemoan the situation or give up hope. I cannot describe the strength I saw in Shawn. As usual, he took care of everyone else and held everything together the way he always does.

The black veil of sadness is hitting me. I am sad for my friend. I am sad that this has happened to him, but I know I will never have to worry about him after witnessing the strength he possesses.

There is no doubt in my mind that all of Shawn and Shelley’s friends and family will form the village of support our friend may need moving forward. He may not want it or need it but it will be there if he does.