On Tues., July 8, 2014 my friend Rick died. He didn’t die peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones as we often read in obituaries; but rather on a street, alone. And herein lies why it is so sad………….
Rick received a closed head brain injury quite a few years ago when the ATV he was riding on collided with a pick up truck that was going the wrong way on a clearly marked trail; Rick almost died. Strong man that he was, he recovered and was able to walk, talk and sort of resume a normal life. He really wasn’t competent to make legal decisions but his employer (the big blue oval) said that he had to return to work when in fact he should’ve been medically disabled and given disability. He worked for a few more years and his employer kept demoting him as he could no longer handle his job. Eventually he was offered a buy-out & retirement which he took and started being at home, every day, all the time.
He had some medical issues, suffered a few seizures when sleeping; otherwise he was a happy go-lucky guy – he just had no “filters” so to speak and often spoke exactly what he was thinking; which could either be hilarious or hurtful depending on the situation and what he said. He liked to go on walks and was known to go dumpster diving behind stores.
One year for a few weeks Rick and his wife came and attended a financial class near us. Since it was at night and we went too, they would come down for dinner, we’d all go to class and then they would come back to the house, play cards or watch TV and then spend the night.
The lady teaching the class was just a tad snobbish (at least that is how she seemed to us) but Rick never cared about that; he would still talk to her every week. So one week he showed me what he had found while dumpster diving; it was a carved onyx donkey. (I collect the stuff, and it was a nice piece) He took it to class and was going to show her his great find. For grins I said make sure you tell her where you found it after you show her. He said alright, he didn’t care if people knew he went into dumpsters, and headed up to the front of the room to show her. I sat in the back of the class to watch what happened.
I could see him show her the piece, talking quite animatedly about it and she took it from his hand and was really looking at it, telling him how nice it was; I had a great view of her reaction when he told her where he had found it. I thought this lady was going to throw it at him. She rapidly dropped it in his hand and stepped back a couple of feet. As soon as she could get away from him she came flying back to the back of the room and right into the Ladies’ room.
I slowly sauntered in there on the pretense of using it before class and saw her furiously scrubbing her hands. When she saw me in the mirror, I could tell that she was ready to explode – it was so hard to keep a straight face and inquire why she was so upset. To her credit she didn’t say anything bad about Rick and never let on that anything was wrong; she just said that she had gotten something on her hands and needed to get it off. For the rest of the sessions she wouldn’t touch anything that Rick brought to class.
Rick loved to joke around and kid. If he liked you, you knew it. He adored his wife and always told me how much he loved her. Some of his favorite times were when he would come visit us and spend a night or two here. He loved the way that sweet hubby cooked and would always praise him about his cooking skills.
On July 7, 2014 Rick died, alone on a street within a half mile of his house and on the 30th anniversary of his wedding to his much loved wife.
If you have ones that you love, let them know it – the more the better; you never know when your last day on this earth will be.