I’ve known George for 15 years. He comes to our restaurant frequently with guests and sometimes we break bread together at lunch. George is a few years older than I and is quite heavy. Being a bit shorter than I am, he looks heavier than I do in the weight department. He has had a number of health issues some of which has had him in the hospital several times in the last year.
To some degree George and I are of the same mindset in that we just can’t seem to shall we say push the “Start Button” on getting healthy. Oh I did smoothies for a while and they actually did help. But then life and time gets in the way and suddenly you stop smoothing and continue on. Same thing with George.
Unfortunately for George his wife liked the smoothie idea and also began trying vegan. George is not a happy man now. He has not taken well to things like “tofu meat loaf.” I think he comes to our restaurant more often now to escape from that existence. Maybe to cheat a little as he doesn’t seem to go too overboard to his credit.
Though George is passed retirement age he prefers to stay busy and still comes to work every day, though he has delegated many of his past duties to staff in his office of his company. So his pace is a bit more relaxed but I will never expect to see him sitting in the rocking chair at home.
I like George a lot and we have had some deep conversations about life, work, religion and family. Many of these conversations I have never had with another man or for that matter even my wife. So he and I have become close.
I offered a little over a year ago to bring my bicycle down to work and he and I could ride together along the lakefront here in Chicago during our lunch. I know it helps to have a friend like this as it makes it easier to push that start button I mentioned earlier. George turned me down. That has bothered me and concerned me more. He also stated to just keep praying for him. I told him I would and that the wife already does for him every day.
This week he came over for lunch and his voice sounded very different and he stated he had some type of infection and it would get better. But my Spidey Sense was acting up and I steered the conversation where I didn’t want to go. I discovered that he is at peace and accepts whatever comes his way. He is a religious man and goes to mases several times a week and he does pray a lot. George is ready to die, he’s at peace with it, whenever that will be. Despite the fact that if he would walk a block or two extra every day or ride the bike with me it could possibly reverse that direction, he is unequivocally happy with the way his life is now. To me it’s like he wants to go to the great beyond. He is committed to his belief in god and that there is a life after and he is looking forward to that happening when its time, he said quite calmly to me.
Of course I asked about his bride of just a few years, is she OK with this? I knew the answer before I said it and it was the same as mine. I wouldn’t be comfortable with George going either, especially before what we think his time should be. I’m scared of death, always have been. I have had more experiences of deaths with friends and family, in fact more than most. At the same time, I admire George with his calmness, his steadfastness to his beliefs. To have that, takes away the scary part that so many of us are afraid of. George you are what Jesus spoke of in that you believe in what you can’t see. Whether or not what he believes is true, he at least my friends, will not be living what present life he has in fear. George you are a better man than I, as you are really living /enjoying your life you are blessed. That is something that I and many others can’t say, because we are living our life in fear.