Monday, June 15, 2009

Dear Janet and Dale,

I cannot imagine the emptiness you feel with the loss of Mason.

I can only tell you that he has been a part of my daily life for the last three years or so, and that he is the bravest person I've ever known.

We had a special relationship, because he is a smart ass. And people tell me that I tend that way, as well. We harrassed and insulted one another, mostly for sport, but also because we felt safe with one another. We also talked about treatments and symptoms, what a pain insulin was, how steroids destroyed any chance of sleep. (and why we were both up at 3 am...)

One cold Saturday afternoon, I watched a really awful movie on the Comedy Channel, "Bad Santa." The movie was set in Phoenix, and one of the central characters was an odd quirky little fellow named Thurman, who lived with his deranged grandmother "Grammie" who was played by Cloris Leachman. When I saw Mason in chat that night, I asked him how much he had made starring in that movie as Thurman. He immediately told me that he made more than I did playing Grammie!

And so it began.

Thurman's wish in the movie was for a stuffed pink elephant. I threatened to send Mason a stuffed pink elephant, maybe a thousand times; "Young man, if you don't straighten yourself up, you're getting a pink elephant in the mail."

We talked about his bucket list. He talked about coming to Washington DC last fall, but a hospital stay and his continued weakening prevented him from travelling. So, we did some virtual touring, me showing him pictures of some of the monuments, and where they were in relationship to really good pizza places.

He told me a couple of weeks ago he didn't think he was going to finish his bucket list. I told him that it was okay, most folks never even got around to making the list. I think he understood that living as hard as you can, as fast as you can, sometimes didn't take a lot of physical motion, that living intellectually on the edge with an open mind ready to absorb whatever the world had to offer, this was a rich life as well.

He knew every corner of the internet. He knew more about his disease, his treatments, and sadly, his prognosis than most of the doctors I know. He knew how to make friends, he knew how to judge character quickly. He had unattractive nicknames for some of them that made me howl with laughter.

And in the last weeks, when he was too tired to sit up and chat, and we knew he was very sick, and rightfully depressed, we, a bunch of old fat women stuck in our recliners decided to cheer him up. So when he came into chat, I told him that we had decided to all chip in and buy him a hooker, and precisely which sort did he like? Was he more the Laura San Giacomo sort, or the run-of-the-mill Julia-Roberts-Pretty-Woman sort? We bugged him for several days about having one show up in a nurse's uniform, so you wouldn't suspect anything. I am ashamed to tell you that he thought this was hysterical.

And now, there is no more.

I am fairly confident, however, that when I go to Our Father's House where there are many mansions, there is going to be a tall skinny kid on a dirtbike destroying my carefully manicured landscape.

Rest in peace, Thurman.


Anonymous said...

That was great Ellen..Man this is so freakin hard..I miss that Dude already..He touched so many of our lives and yes...Had a tad of smart ass that I believe his Grammie taught him...LOL
I just Blogged about him myslef but you did such a great job...and made me laugh as well..Yes..that will be him..dirt bike and all...LOL
Hugs to ya my PHriend :))

Annette said...

Ellen, you've managed to capture it all and written it perfectly, as always. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing with all of us.
much love

Cathy said...

This is wonderful Elena, I miss my buddy sooo much, its so hard.
I like your blog it made me laugh a bit.

Maddy said...

Thanks Ellen for articulating it all so well. I only knew him from a distance and am sorry. I can tell that I certainly missed out on a wonderful young man.

I hope you are well. I'm glad there you were able to go and help represent a community to whom he meant so much.

Bless you.