It was barely 3 months ago that I told you about my friend Val the Bingo Queen having lost two friends within one week. In case you don't remember, the Grim Reaper was to blame, not any bad behaviour on Val's part. It wasn't the sort of thing that anyone can take in stride, but she did her best and has been getting on with life since then.
She just found out that one of her best friends, a wonderful, big-hearted man with a ready smile and charming sense of humour, has pancreatic cancer. In case any of you are unfamiliar with pancreatic cancer's ugly face, it's basically a death sentence. This fellow, who I've met many times over the years, is 59 years old.
Val is 46 years old, but at the rate her friends are popping their clogs she may as well be in her 80's. Alternately, she could be living in a country at war, with an active occupation and aerial bombings. It boggles the mind, and the spirit, when so much loss arrives within such a short span of time.
On top of that, a gentleman that we both work with has been fading away before our eyes due to rapidly progressing heart failure which is causing his other organs to shut down. I'm not sure if he has turned 70 yet. By the time he had all the symptoms to qualify for the heart transplant waiting list he was too sick to be a candidate for surgery. He's been told not to buy any green bananas, and good luck.
As recently as a few days ago he was showing up at work, using a pair of cross country ski poles as walking sticks, and shuffling around in his office "doing paperwork". I'm not sure what he's able to usefully get done, since he's not getting much oxygen to his brain anymore so he's not thinking clearly. I only hope his wife had the heart to hide his car keys, because he was driving himself around past the point when he could do so safely. It's bad enough that he's shuffling off this mortal coil; he shouldn't take any innocent bystanders with him.
So that's what's up, and it gets to the point where it's impossible to ignore and one has to talk about it. So here I am talking about it. These things do happen, yes, but I am awfully sad about it all.