The text from his daughter arrived early this morning.
My friend Norman died at about 1:30 a.m. June 28, taking him on to the next part of his journey. Today, I’m thankful not only for Norman’s life but also because he got the chance to say farewell. He got the chance to celebrate his life with his loved ones, and in doing so, gave us one final opportunity to let him know the impact he has had on us.
The sign, black magic marker lettering on pink construction paper, tells you everything you need to know about how he has handled his life.
And for Norman, as he sits up in his bed, sucking on a piece of ice, the sign tells you more about how he is handling his death.
Norman has cancer, which started in his stomach and has spread to inoperable levels in other parts of his body. He is dying.
Oh, you thought you were smart, didn’t you, Powell County Kiwanis Club 5K? You thought you could beat us down by including steep hills, steps and an Indiana Jones-style swinging bridge. When that failed, you thought rain would stop us.
You were wrong 5K.
I don’t know the Latin translation, but in English, it’s roughly: We came. We ran. We conquered. We iced our aching knees down.
All this time later, this one still makes me tear up. Come on, rise up …
Kevin, River and The Drake brave the elements the day before the concert.
I don’t think anyone in our group cried.
To be fair, though, I think that has less to do with the emotional impact of Bruce Springsteen’s music and more to do with the absolutely miserable weather in Cleveland. Shedding a tear meant you risked having it freeze to your skin, and with the complete lack of sun in the city, the frozen teardrop could have remained there for far too long. I’m sure that would be bad for your skin.
Tonight, about 20 hours from the time I post this (or 8 p.m. for those of you not inclined to do the math), I’ll be having as much fun as I’ve had so far this year.
I’ll be watching Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performing live in Cleveland.
That in and of itself would be enough to have me ecstatic, but making it even better is that I’ll be watching it with a friend, The Drake. Making that even better is that The Drake, despite being a huge Springsteen fan, has never seen him live.
His life is about to change.