Can you believe that it’s Labor Day already? What a gorgeous weekend it’s been! The Fall colors have just begun and the crisp night air has been perfect for sleeping. Don and I have been working around the house, weatherizing, replacing and updating, we just can’t believe how quickly that 18 yrs have passed. Which brings me to this lesson of the day.
35 years ago Don met a life long friend . They played together in middle school, raised a little hell in high school, in and out of our family for functions, births, etc.
He was a good guy and great friend but he was an alcoholic. Over the years we’d call and check on him, we didn’t see him too often, we watched him rehab then hibernate, rehab then hibernate, DUI’s then rehab. The drunk dial phone calls from a lonely old friend that lost his wife, was disowned by his family and had no one in life.
Well, you all know me and I’m pretty upfront. Tired of hearing his woes’ me’s, I would tell him that he was a drunk and that if didn’t get help he was going to die at an early age. I encouraged him, motivated him, called and yelled at him. Don and I would always comment that the day would come too soon if he didn’t help himself.
It’s been 2 yrs since we’ve seen him. The last time was when I drove him to the hospital in a drunken stupor, bloody and bruised. They detoxed’ him and Don drove him home.
Well, Don & I got to see our friend this weekend; on a ventilator, getting dialysis and having 20 different drugs pumped into his body. All of this self-inflicted at the age of 49.
We knew this day would come, the phone call from his estranged brother. Our friend was dying. He had contracted pneumonia, in ICU, his kidneys shut down and he was unresponsive. They were “pulling the plug” in 24 hours and wanted us to have the opportunity to say goodbye.
How sad. This self-inflicted death. We stayed with him and his brother while they unplugged the IVs and removed the ventilator. I smiled as I recalled all the years hearing Don always say to him; “I’m there til the end my friend” and he was. I squeezed Don’s hand just a little tighter as we watched the numbers on the monitor drop, closing yet another chapter in our life.
Did you know that 95% of alcoholics die from their disease and die approximately 26 years earlier than their normal life expectancy? And alcoholism and alcohol abuse are the third leading cause of the preventable deaths in the United States.
Lesson learned for the day is that this disease can be prevented. If you know anyone who may need help, please encourage them to visit the AA website at http://www.aa.org/lang/en/meeting_finder.cfm?origpage=29