Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Lost a Dear Friend to Cancer

Angel Eddie
The past several months have been very emotional for me as I stood by and watched my friend die. He finally passed on June 12th but it has taken me this long to make here to write about this experience.

During the months he was sick I sacrificed everything I could to be there with him. When he finally did pass several weeks ago I had a lot of catching up to do at work and at home. Hence the reason the blog has gone silent for quite some time. I know I posted other reasons for the silence and while they were true the main force behind all the silence was me spending every second I could spare with my dear friend Eddie. I wasn't ready to talk about that yet though, talking about it would have made it too real and I could not handle that at the time.

Eddie should have been the one writing a blog about how to live a simple life happily. He was the master of doing just that and I will never forget all I learned from him. It is not just the Little House books that inspire me to get back to the basics and focus on family and the simple pleasures of life. Eddie is big inspiration in my life and he always will be. If I could be more like him I would be so much happier and more importantly so would the others around me. I am working on trying to do just that. I even started a blog with Eddie's sister called Live Like Eddie. It is only in rough form right now but if you knew Eddie and you miss him hop on over and take a look at what is there so far and I am sure you will find something you like that will make you smile just like Eddie use to do. 

For those of you reading this that do not know Eddie you may be thinking "yeah yeah yeah, we all feel this way about a close friend when they die." Let me set you straight, Eddie was no ordinary friend, no ordinary person. Everyone who met Eddie had the same thing to say: "I have never met someone like Eddie." If you are not a dog lover this may sound lame but the way Eddie loved others unconditionally reminds me of the way a beloved family dog loves its family. Except with Eddie he even went beyond just his close circle of family and friends. Eddie loved every single person he met and greeted them with joy. He never judged a soul. He greeted everyone with a smile and gave of himself freely with no restraint.

Want to know what makes this even more amazing? Eddie was blind, could only walk with assistance, and had brain issues that required multiple surgeries. Did Eddie ever complain about any of this? No. No he did not. Did Eddie live his life to the fullest every single day and find joy and hope in every single thing? Yes. Yes he did. Did he try to help others do the same? Did he have an unimaginable amount of patience with everyone and everything? You bet he did.

Eddie was born prematurely back in 1981 when they did not have the technology they have today.  Eddie's trip down the birth canal was too much for his fragile body to handle. He ended up getting cerebral palsy from this journey and fluid in his brain. When he entered the world his lungs were underdeveloped so they had to give him a lot of oxygen and they ended up giving him so much that is caused him to go blind. At the time his mother, Pauli, had a baby girl at home who was not yet 2 (Rachel) and a husband who was separated from her. The doctors said Eddie would never walk, he would never see, and that he would be severely mentally retarded. They urged his mother to just pull the life support and let Eddie go. She told them NO.

Eddie survived the long months in the hospital and finally Pauli was able to bring him home. Here is a picture of Eddie in his sister's arms the day he came home from the hospital.

Eddie had a long road ahead of him still. I don't know the exact details and numbers of everything like his mother Pauli does but here is a summary. He had multiple surgeries on his brain to drain the fluid over the first several years of his life. He also had his hips broken twice and had to wear a full lower body cast for months as a result but he was finally able to walk using a walker. He also ended up being able to see bright white light.

One thing he was able to do starting as a young baby was smile. Even through all of this pain and struggle Eddie always had a smile. I did not know Eddie back then. I met him when he was 12 or 13 and I was about 15. I have seen the pictures though and I have heard the stories. The bright beaming joy came from Eddie from the first day he learned how to smile. Just take a look at these wonderful pictures of Eddie as a baby with his big sister Rachel. They speak a thousand words.

I really don't know what else to say except that Eddie truly was the greatest person I have ever known and probably ever will know. I am so thankful that his mother Pauli had the wisdom and the courage to tell those doctors NO! Eddie touched so many lives and helped so many people during his short 30 years on this earth. He will live on in our stories and our memories in a different way than other friends and family that have passed because Eddie was something different, something special. Something that only comes around once in a life time if you are lucky. I am thankful everyday that I was lucky enough to have met Eddie. I will cherish every moment I had with him for the rest of my days. He brought so much peace, joy, and unconditional love.

Here are some pictures of some of my happy times with Eddie, that smile was always contagious! Rest in peace buddy, you were the best and you will ALWAYS be the best. I LOVE YOU!



Kristi said...

My condolences on the loss of your friend. Thanks for introducing us to Eddie through your beautiful tribute.

Kristi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laurie Cohen said...

Where I grew up, in Miami, Florida, we studied about the Spanish who treked far across the ocean to the New World. One of those was a man named Ponce de' Leon. He was an explorer looking for the "Fountain of Youth" if I remember correctly.

I think I 2 straglknow why he was searching for it. It most likely wasn't for himself, but for the wonderful friends and loved ones who left us too young in life.