Give Of Yourself

He’d been fighting the illness for a while, but I never knew since we had lost touch over the years. He wanted to hear about what I was doing, and listened with rapt attention as I recounted my experiences.

“You have had a great life, Bruz,” he told me.

“I’m glad you were in it,” I told him.

We cried a bit and I said goodbye. His parents hugged me quietly at the door.

My dad drove me back to school that evening with my mom’s words ringing in my ears. “I’m sure God is smiling down on the friend you have been to David,” she said.

He only lasted two more weeks.

Memories of him wash over me when I eat apples and pears like we used to do in the summer from the fruit trees in my parents’ backyard–especially the green ones, for some reason. He was a really good friend, and we shared a lot.

* * *

“I just thought it was a sore throat,” he said. “But the biopsy wasn’t good. It’s cancer, man. I might be already dying.”

I held my hand over the receiver to hide my gasp. My secretary saw my eyes fill with tears when I glanced through the door at her.

This friend was also my age, someone I had shared much of my adult life with.

“Big deal,” I roared. “We’ll get through this!”

He rose to my enthusiasm and said, “OK, OK … but uh … stay close to me though, all right?”

I let out a hearty, obnoxious laugh. “Absolutely,” trying to sound as cavalier as possible.

I hung up and looked at my reflection in the picture glass across the room. “Here we go again,” I thought.

For the next year, I played the “so what?” guy, trying to be strong when he might be weak.

“It really hurts,” he said.

“Must be healing,” I responded.

“My kids think I look like a skinny freak,” he said.

“Well, remind them you were pretty ugly to begin with,” I retorted.

“I don’t know if I can get through this,” he said.

“You can and you will! Don’t you quit on me!”

And then one day he said, “Hey, I gained two pounds!”

“There you go, partner!”

“Doc says I turned the corner!”

“Never doubted it for a second, brother.”

“Man, thanks.”

“No charge, dude, my pleasure.”

And he did get better. And he’s still getting better and doing great. His kids are growing up to be the great people he hoped to see graduate and get married. His steadfast wife is right there–strong as ever.

And my faith in the natural wonders of life is hanging tight.

I am continuously amazed by all the privileges I have an opportunity to enjoy: my wonderful families–the ones that raised me and the ones I made and chose; the sunsets, the amazing clouds; the love in my wife’s eyes; the memories of accomplishments and honors; the lessons of good, solid parents, the love of my irreplaceable sisters; the loyalty of good animals; a warm cup of morning coffee, the relief of an ice cold beer on a summer day; a parking spot by the office door; the smell of a fire in fall, the wind through the frozen trees on a winter night; the laughter of my children–and, lest I forget, the honor of relating all of it to you.

Remember the important things and the honors you have been given, my friends. Give of yourself and watch it come back in truckloads.

And have yourself a Happy New Year.

Ron Ciancutti is the Purchasing Manager for Cleveland Metroparks. He is not on Facebook, but he can be reached at rdc@clevelandmetroparks.com.

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2 comments on “Give Of Yourself

  1. Skyler Rorabaugh on said:

    Great story Ron!

    When you look at life and all of the things that have an impact on you personally, it’s ultimately your friends and family that you take with you to the next life in heaven; not the car, boat, house, job, or title.

    In today’s world it is difficult to not get caught up in the possessions game and really focus on what life is all about.

  2. Dave Hagedorn on said:

    Ron, I just read this article for a second time and followed through with the thought I had in the first place, to say, “Thanks.” I appreciate your ongoing insights and decision to write this particular article in the way that you did. I find great value in your topic selection and approach to your writing.

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