My Friend David

I have a very dear friend, David, who was recently diagnosed with active cancer for the second time this year.  He successfully battled throat cancer from March to July, was declared fully cancer-free, then he and his wife allowed me to serve as their buyer’s agent on the purchase of a new home in August.  A couple of weeks ago they told him that he now has a tumor in his sublingual area which will require surgery at MD Anderson in Houston in the next few days. 

He is currently in a hospital in Austin, and I went to see him yesterday.  He seemed tired, but in good spirits.  I even managed to get a few smiles out of him.  I didn’t stay a long time, because I didn’t want to wear him out.  He has trouble communicating with his voice, so he was writing on a clipboard sometimes as well.  I actually had to “translate” for the nurse a couple of times.  Basically, he looked like a very sick, slightly older and thinner version of the David that I have known.  He is only 49 years old.

I have known David for about 12 years now, and he was one of the very first people that I told of my decision to get into real estate.  I still remember that we were standing on the balcony of a downtown Austin hotel, at a party celebrating a mutual friend’s college graduation party (this would have been around Christmas 1996).  His face lit up like a proud father: “Good for you!  You will do well in that business.  It suits your personality.”  As a lifelong salesperson, David was more than qualified to make this statement.  It was a breath of fresh air to me, since I have enormous respect for him. 

It seems especially poignant and difficult to me that someone who has affected so many people with his voice will likely have at least a few months during which he is unable to speak at all.  I know that the surgery they are planning will likely end up requiring months of speech therapy for him.  Frankly, he is one of the most social and energetic people that I have ever known, and he has never been shy about…well, about anything.  He shares his faith with others, and he is always quick with a joke or a kind word.  He even taught my eight-year old son several funny handshakes that my boy still likes to show off around new people.  Encouraging, boisterous, and yes, even a little bit loud – these are words to describe my friend.

Believe me, this post has a bigger point, and I will get there eventually – bear with me, please. 

David has always been a giant in my eyes, and he is one of those people that is not afraid to stand up for his beliefs or to challenge someone when it is needed.  I have always admired this quality in him, among many others. 

When he went through cancer the first time, I told David that I loved him for the first time in our friendship.  Why did I wait to do this until he was sick?  It really wasn’t that hard to say. 

Yesterday, during my somewhat short visit, I told him a few other things that were important to me.  I have a men’s group that I meet with every week at my church (9 other guys), and I shared with David that we were praying for him.  I also told him (truthfully) that I had shared with those guys some other things about him, namely that I had always admired his ability to share his faith with others, and that he was my hero.  I again told him that I love him, and he said it back to me.  Again, this wasn’t hard for me to say, because it is the truth.

I don’t ever want to have regrets with my loved ones.  I have lost several close family members, but I never doubted that any of them knew of my love for them.  It may sound trite, but I feel that it is important to share how you feel with those that are important to you. 

I will continue to pray for my buddy, and I hope we can again share lunch or a golf outing (he is a golf maniac!).  Regardless of what happens, I won’t have to kick myself for not sharing my feelings with him.

Thanks for taking time to read this post. 

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