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Steps in the Sand
It’s important to have people in your life to keep you grounded, to keep you down to earth. People like you. Somewhere in the bible, there’s a passage about how a person is questioning the lord at the end of his life, and he looks back and sees footsteps in the sand of his life. He notices, that there was only one set of footprints at several places, and asks the lord why he abandoned the man at those places to walk alone, in the worst parts of his life. The lord responds, “my son, in those places, I did not leave your side, I carried you.
For some people, maybe that person is part your family, or maybe, like me, it is, or was, a friend.
If you know what that feels like, to have someone in your life who just hits a chime in your soul, congratulations. You’ve been blessed by God, or Yahweh, or Allah, or whatever religion you believe in. The only thing that you should know is, and this may depress you, but nothing in this world is eternal.
That person is who you confide in at your worst times, who you can talk to for hours on end, and pour your soul out to, and who can just sit and listen to you. That person can move away, and you’ll still talk over the phone, they may even come back for a visit or you may go see them. You never lose touch. Even after college and you go your own ways, you stay in contact.
So what happens if that person dies?
What happens when that person has a disease that is slowly draining their lives and you’re being forced to watch without being able to do anything at all? Could you watch? Could you continue to talk, and pretend everything is normal?
Don’t make one person’s mistake and do nothing.
My friend’s name was Dequan. Yes, he was black, and yes, I’m white, if you feel like saying anything about that, just think about if you have anyone in your life, and what you would do if anything happened to them.
When I first found out, I was at his house, in his room, and we were playing video games. He left to go to the bathroom, and as he closed the door as he left, the air sent a piece of folded paper fluttering to the floor. I saw, and thought that I might as well put it back, but I couldn’t resist opening it and looking.
It was a diagnosis, for Cancer. I read through some of it, it felt like I was swallowing glass slivers, I could hardly breath. The world spun. He came back into the room, looking as cheerful as ever a few minutes later, after I had collapsed into sitting on the edge of his bed. I had put that foul little scrap of paper back onto the desk by the door, but he knew something was wrong. We never talked about it, but I think that he knew what I had seen, and that I knew.
We never spoke of that, and I never said a word about it, and in the next four eight months, I was forced to watch the only person my age who really understood my life die.
It was a tumor. The tumor was hidden in all of the x-rays and scans because it was growing in a little knot of veins and arteries near his heart, so they couldn’t risk trying to cut the tumor out either. I knew and never said a thing about it.
Please, don’t make that mistake when it comes to that, because it will, mark my words, when you’re old, and whoever that person is for you, be it your spouse for fifty years, your adult child, your nineteen-year-old grandchild, or like me, a friend, maybe even for all your life.
If you do make my mistake, you can always make it work, and try to start over if you’re still young, but there won’t ever be a way for you to find that relationship exactly the same as with that first friend. That loss will weigh on your soul and your mind for the rest of this life. I’ve managed to start over again and I found four people so much like me, it may never be the same though. You may just find yourself in a dark room muttering and crying for the rest of your life if you don’t.