Late July, I was really bearing down on my preparations to leave for Spain and the Camino de Santiago. So excited to get going. Then a phone call from my long-time friend Jim. He told me his brother Paul has Cancer. The three of us were friends for more years than most of you have lived. Paul and I first met before I was in 1st grade. Many tough nights pondering what to do.
I decided to go to Spain. My thoughts were consumed with my friend. I carried a stone on my Pilgrimage for Paul that came from Lake Ontario about 3 miles from his home. I left the stone for him at the Cruz de Ferro. I am not ashamed to tell you I had a serious melt-down at that point.
Shortly after my return from Spain, I was back in the Air to New York State. I found my friend to be very weak and frail, not the Gun-ho, Semper-fi Marine that I knew. So hard to hold it together for him. I was told he had stage 4 Cancer in both Lungs and one kidney. Just didn’t seem fair for a Non-drinker/smoker. He was in no pain ,very upbeat and optimistic. Denial, I am sure. On my last visit , He asked if I would return in the Spring to go Salmon fishing with him. That was Monday 11/11/2013. The next morning, found me jetting back to Texas. That evening, he had difficulty breathing and passed away at the hospital. 73+ years. God’s Peace my friend.