Driving to church this morning, the sun was shining in my window just right. Squinting, I tried to drive without them - I don't like the way they change the color of the world. I want to see it the way it is, unchanged, unaltered, unshaded. But it didn't take long before I realized I needed help.
It reminded me of a conversation with him in February, talking about hospice, about pain. He said that when he was first admitted into the facility to help manage his pain, he was told to push the red button for medicine. Push the red button for no pain. But he'd wait. He'd wait as long as he could, letting the pain mount, before he pushed that button. Then one day it dawned on him - push the button, no pain! Something simple, something he'd already been told, but it just hadn't clicked right. A little pain, a lot of pain, it didn't matter. Push the button and the pain went away. He realized it wasn't about seeing how long you could deal with it, how long you could go before asking for help. It was about receiving help, about the quality of life you could have with no pain.
Then in church today, a song. An email forwarded from my mom updating his condition. It didn't sound good but it didn't sound immediate either. An email of love sent to him and his wife. A comment made with a group of middle schoolers. A mention of our February trip during a phone conversation. A recounting of the day's events to my roommate. A text from my mom, saying tonight or tomorrow most likely he would leave us.
I think I somehow already knew that very soon a great man would part from this world. UE, please know that Fred is thinking of you, loving you from where I am, missing you already. Go magnify the Lord. Do not be afraid. I love you.