On June 10th, I was sent a letter by a man calling himself Ed. I’ve been emailing him back and forth since then and have decided to post the letters. Here they are:
On June 10th Ed wrote:
I want to be Ed. My name isn’t Ed, but I think that by the time I finish my letter, you’ll agree that if I want to be called Ed, I should get the chance. I’ve been reading your blog since discovering it one day while bouncing aimlessly around the internet. I like the fact that despite your sometimes brutal honesty, you are positive about life and the wonders that it holds. I wish I could have seen the world through your eyes.
I have a malignant glioma Sean, which may ring a bell (or may not) because the late Senator Ted Kennedy had one and did not win his fight. I know, and have known for a few months that I will also not win my fight. I used to have a wonderful job and a fast paced lifestyle, but these days I can also appreciate the sometimes maddening slowness of taking things day to day. It’s in this day to day routine that I have began to find the wonderment with life that so many of us lose as children. I’m not dating anyone, and I am not close to my father (he was a drug addict and kicked me out of the house when I was 13), so I’ve mainly spent my time just visiting with friends but they’ve started to not want to be around me, mainly because I think they know what’s coming. It’s tough sometimes to be positive and friendly with someone you may not see tomorrow. I also like to people watch from my apartment window on good days. It overlooks a beautiful park here and I love to watch people having a good time. I’m not doing any hospice care or anything, so when I go, I’ll go quietly-hopefully looking out of my window with a smile.
I am writing to you because I have discovered that you and I seem to see the world in similar ways and I would really like to leave some sort of written communication with a total stranger that I’ve developed an e-closeness with in the past few months. What do you say? Do you have time to have a pen pal? I don’t know how busy this thing gets. Email me back if you like.
I will gladly be your pen pal. I assume you’ve tried the different treatments for your glioma? Are you in bed full time now? You mentioned hospice care, so I didn’t know what shape you were in. If you aren’t in bed, do you have anything planned for summer? It’s my birthday tomorrow and I am having a party. I’ll take some pictures and send them to you if you like, so you can see what it was like. I don’t know how many pictures I’ll get done before I have to put the camera away though, last year was a rough one..too many drinks. This year should be fun though. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone.
On June 13th, Ed wrote:
Sorry I didn’t email you back sooner Sean. It’s been a rough few days. I got some of the pictures you sent. It looked like a great place to be and you have some fun looking friends. To answer your questions, I have tried any treatment available, but gliomas are hard to treat. Also, I am pretty much in bed almost full time now. I have a nurse that takes care of me from time to time, but I can still get up to go to the bathroom, so I have that going for me. Ha-ha-ha.
It’s raining here, which I don’t like because no one goes to the park when it rains. How has your weather been?
The weather here was okay. It rained the morning of my birthday and parts of the days afterward. This upcoming week will be cloudy and rainy on and off, but not too bad. My daughter and I like to swim at the Lifetime Fitness (a really cool gym if you haven’t heard of it), and I get a nice workout, so if it’s nice we’ll swim outside this week. What do you do on your rainy days? Have any friends come back around? I’d stop by if you were near me. I know that may seem weird, but you seem like a good person, and I’d like to think if I was in your situation, someone would do the same for me. Maybe we’d chat. I’ll bring some lunch or something. It’s up to you.
I hadn’t heard anything from him by June 19th, so I wrote him:
Hadn’t heard back from you buddy. Just checking in to see if you got my last email.
June 22nd Ed wrote:
I got it. I can’t really talk now. Things aren’t good right now, but I’ll email you back when I can. The nurse wants me to be on morphine and it makes me freak out. I just sleep alot now. Talk soon.
On June 23rd, Ed wrote:
I think dinner would be good, but I am in the heart of Ohio, so I fear that’s a bit too far for you to bring lunch, unless…you figured out a way to email soup? Ha-ha-ha.
I called my dad. I cried so hard while tlaking to him. I’d held all of this anger in and refused to talk to him after he’d kicked me out and when I heard his voice, I just broke down. He’ll be here in just a few days. I am excited to see him. I don’t have much longer to live Sean, so if you don’t hear from me again, I just want you to know how much I appreciate the emails you’ve sent. I wih I would have started this earlier-there is so much I could tell you about me. I hope all is well with you. How was swimming?
Swimming was great. Olivia is trying to teach herself how to swim and is doing an excellent job. She has the front crawl pretty much down..except for the breathing part. She still has to stop and breathe once in awhile, but don’t we all? I am glad you called your dad. Have you called any other friends? Has anyone come by to see you? Morphine doesn’t sound fun. I am really sensitive to drugs like that. I had codeine once after my wrist surgery and had hallucinations that the ceiling was moving. Fun, but scary. I hope you are as comfortable as you can be, I am still working on inventing a way to email soup.
On June 27th, I got this email:
This is Ed, I’m Adam’s father. I just wanted you to know that he passed away last night and I was at his side, along with three of his close friends. Over the past few days, we’ve done some crying, some laughing, and we all learned to say goodbye on different levels. Some lost a friend, but I lost a son. My only son.
Adam told us about you and he writing letters and I think it was a wonderful thing that you did for him. When we couldn’t be there for him, you were. I also noticed he was calling himself Ed, which is my name. When I asked him why he chose Ed, he told me I was the only person he could think of during his last few weeks. I miss him so much right now. He has always been and will always be loved.
If you’re wondering what happened with us, his mom dies when he was two and I couldn’t take it. I developed a drug problem when he was younger and I kicked him out one night after he’d thrown my stuff in the toilet. I hit him pretty bad too, from what I remember. He left willingly and never looked back, but I did my best to reconcile once I got cleaned up and went through treatment. I went to his high school and college graduations, though he wouldn’t see me and I have sent him a Christmas and birthday card every single year of his life. I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to think I was a bad person. I loved him more than any father could love a son. I was so happy when he called that I could barely stand.
Adam was a great man. He was always concerned with doing what was right and making the world better by showing people the good in life. He was wickedly funny, charming, and could hold a good conversation with total strangers. He knew everybody. Just over one hundred people showed up for his funeral.
Sean, thank you again. I am not really into the “blog” thing, or much into computers-I , but his friends have been reading it and say you have done a good thing here. Adam would really be proud of what you are doing for people. If you’re ever in the Boston area, look me up. I’d love to grab a coffee and shake your hand. If you find a way to email soup, I like tomato. Just plain tomato. With or without bread.
So there you go. I posted something personal for those of you wanting more personal aspects in my blog. This was really hard for me to go through, let alone repost. Things like this aren’t easy to do, which is one difficult part of having a blog, but at the same time, it is moments like this that make it all worth while. I am glad I could do something like this for someone. Ed, thank you for writing. Adam, thank you for living. I hope you have a park up there, wherever you are.
I wasn’t initially going to post this, but I thought to myself this morning while re-reading these, “This is as real as it gets.”