Thursday, July 2, 2009

My friend, Glenn



My Special Friend

He pulled a chair to the center of the room.
He wasn’t going to miss a chord of their music.
Didn’t matter that everyone else there was sitting around
tables. . .
He was his own person and would sit where he enjoyed the
music the best.

I liked that in him!

Brunch, coffee hour, potlucks, meetings
He was always there. . .
I asked him to be on our Residents Committee. . .
Just a slight hesitation before he said YES!
That was a blessing we would all come to realize.
Perhaps he preferred our cooking to his. . .
But when he brought in the lemon meringue pie
He was a big hit . . . the pie didn’t last long.

I got to know him better.

His knack for talking to people
Made him the perfect coordinator
For scheduling guest speakers at our Resident meetings:
The police officer who taught us about safety for seniors. . .
The artist that shared his love of geometric art with us . . . and
introduced us to First Friday Art Walks. . .
The coordinator for activities at Marshall Center sharing
activities we all could enjoy . . .
The lady from the Lupetke Center sharing opportunities for
seniors and kidding him about being “quite the ladies man”
when he went to dances there. . .

I saw that he was a hard worker that enjoyed people.

The things he shared with me and others:
The love he had for his family . . .
The Last Friday Art Walks each month. . .
The great outdoors riding his bike. . .
The NAMI walk in Portland. . .
Our Burnt Bridge Creek trail adventure . . .

I saw how he now “lived” life.

His friends could count on him.
He had many buddies he knew from meetings elsewhere.
He visited the elderly and shut ins from his church.
He went to bat for others in the building that asked for his
help.
He shared his love of life with others.

I saw that others were an important part of his life.

I can’t remember exactly
Could it have been just a scarce year since
I met him . . . Glenn with TWO n’s!?!
It wasn’t long enough that I got to enjoy being with my new
friend.
I didn’t want him “to go” so soon. . .
but
I guess God wanted him not to suffer any longer.

I concur.


***************************



Glenn died a week ago in his sleep. . . Yesterday, July 1st was his Memorial Service in Fairview, Oregon -- a place where he grew up -- and a luncheon was held following at Blue Lake Country Club.


The church was filled with his family and friends. Now, I live in an apartment building with 150 families that are all seniors. Only a handful still drove so Glenn's sons arranged for those of us that wanted to come to be picked up in a chartered bus! They said that their father would want us to be there.

Our apartment building was where I met Glenn. We worked together on the Residents Council but we also shared a love of the outdoors -- he on his bike and me hiking -- and a love for the arts. Our first "date" was to go see 6 art places in downtown Vancouver on a First Friday Art Walk. It was an experience that I shared with him each month ever since. The exhibits were always different. It was marvelous to get to see the different art work and there was always refreshments -- all free! The Sunday following his death was an especially difficult day for me because we had made plans to go see a play together at Slocum House, a theater in a historical house at our downtown park. I didn't go -- I couldn't -- without him.

Glenn had been a doctor in his younger days. He served in the Army before he began his practice. When he was diagnosed as Bi-polar, he had to retire from his medical practice/first love and unfortunately, it caused him to abuse alcohol which caused his divorce. He became a member of AA and was so faithful attending meetings and staying dry. Another friend, Henry, here at our apartment building knew him for 7 years from those meetings. He spoke during the eulogy for Glenn. The memories and the highs and lows of Glenn's life were recalled and it was a beautiful service.

The time I got to spend with each of his sons was a special time to remember in my heart. We have decided to meet again next May and do the NAMI walk in memory of their father. ( It is the National Alliance for Mental Illness. Bi-polar belongs in that category.)

Sometimes I wonder why God allows friends to become close and then takes them away so soon but maybe this is another way of God showing us to care for others. Glenn isn't suffering any more and I will always have a special place for him in my heart.


I want to thank my regular blog visitors for their understanding. You each have a special place in my heart also even tho most I have never met and might never get that opportunity. Thanks for "being there" for me at this time.

10 comments:

Malyss said...

Hi, Paulie,
You paid a wonderful and moving tribute to your friend Glenn. He had a full life, rich in experiences, meetings and friends.
His memory will stay in the heart of a lot of people.
You had chance to meet him and to share a lot of things with him;
As we say here: "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."
Maybe just now you need more crying than smiling. But in some weeks, smile will come back each time you'll think about Glenn.
Now, take a little time for yourself.
We can still wait some more days.

RuneE said...

It is always hard to loose close friends - even worse when it is unexpected. You have paid him a very nice tribute. He seems to have been worth it.

Love Bears All Things said...

This was a beautiful tribute to your friend. I don't know why God brings certain people into our lives but I know He does it for a purpose. They may influence us or we them but whatever happens, we are changed because of the experience. It is hard to say goodbye to anyone who is special to us. I am thankful that your friend, Glenn died in his sleep instead of suffering some other long and debilitaing illness.
I thank you for sharing him with us throught this post.
It was very nice of the family to provide the residents with transportation. They must have known how much you all meant to Glenn.
Bless you as you continue to grieve for your friend.
Mama Bear

SandyCarlson said...

That is a beautiful tribute to your friend, Paulie. Amazing. To inspire such words he must have been quite the friend. Such people are treasures to find and to keep in the heart forever.

Sue said...

What a beautiful tribute to your friend. I have been thinking about you since I last commented, and wanted to check in. My Dad was bi-poplar, and an alcoholic, and there is still a lot of misunderstanding out there about this illness. It sounds like you were blessed to be in each others lives.

((((hugs)))))

Katney said...

Wondeful tribute--and how thoughtful of his sons for arranging for you all to attend.

Elaine said...

It sounds like you and Glen had a lovely friendship and like he was a wonderful person. No wonder you miss him! Be kind to yourself.

Daisy said...

Ohh.. This is a beautiful tribute. my prayers for you and your friend's family and friends...

~Daisy
http://inlovewithdaisies.blogspot.com/

Cindi said...

What a wonderful tribute to your dear friend Glenn. It sounds like he was a very special man, not only to you, but to others whose lives he touched.

Obviously his sons knew how important you and the other neighbors were to him. It was so thoughtful of them to charter a bus for all of you to attend his service.

I'm so very sorry for your loss Paulie. I know he'll always hold a special place in your heart.

becky aka theRAV said...

This was a beautiful post for your friend Glenn, Paulie. I know he would have liked it. I think there is a saying that some people come into our lives for a short time yet remain there forever. You have wonderful memories of him. Now he is living on thru you.

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