Beginning of the End
This past Sunday last year was the last time I saw my friend Gregg healthy.
Gregg, Brandon and I went to the Los Alamitos Wings, Bolts,and Something show for a photographer day out. Gregg had said he’d been a bit under the weather but he thought going out for a nice day of walking would be good. So we walked down to the base to look at planes and classic cars.
We split up to get lunch. When I came back to see Gregg, he was holding a bottle of water in line for his food. He motioned to me to look at his hand.
His hand was shaking. Not a caffeine jitter kind of shaking. It was it’s cold out shivering kind of shaking. But it was 75F and sunny.
“Dude, I know you haven’t tweeted in about an hour, but…” I joked at first. He chuckled. “Do we need to get a paramedic?”
He shook his head and motioned me to come closer. He leaned in and spoke. His voice was coarse.
“And the weirdest thing is I lost my voice just as I ordered my food.”
“Okay. You just had your voice a second ago. You’re really worrying me now.”
“I think it’s the smoke.”
“Are you sure you’re feeling okay? We don’t have to go through this if you don’t want to.”
He waved all of that away.
“Let’s eat first, and then we’ll see,” he managed to croak out.
We blamed his not having had anything to eat earlier for the shakes and the smoke for this voice being gone for a moment. After lunch, his hands weren’t shaking too much any more, but he was still hoarse. We decided to continue on our day out.
The sky was blue. The sun was out. The temperature was just right. Lots of people but it wasn’t crowded. Well, except for the line going through the C-17. All of us took tons of photos. It was a great time.
Gregg bid farewell and promised to rest up.
As it turned out, his voice never completely returned. He thought it could be a sudden onset of laryngitis, but he continued to feel worse.
By Friday, Gregg was admitted to the hospital. Satursday was Halloween, and he was still in the hospital. Brandon and I decided to go visit him in costumes. Gregg did joke about me coming to visit in Slave Leia outfit. I thought about it but didn’t want to give anybody a heart attack. (David did point out that it would be a perfect place for anyone to have a heart attack. LOL.) So I donned my Jedi costume instead.
Looking back, boy do I regret chickening out on the Slave Leia costume.
We were told later that they had found a mass in his chest. And soon after he was formerly diagnosed with some type of rare cancer.
Gregg fought it tooth and nail. And we all went along with him on that fight. Friends and family circled around Gregg to stay with him, take him to his appointments, take care of anything he’d need. All I could do was to cook Thanksgiving feast for friends and family just in case it would be hist last. And it was.
We were there along side him all the way through when there was nothing left to do. I went to see him in the nursing home before I left for my New Zealand trip in early April. I brought him electronic drum set he could play while in bed, a throw back to our legendary Rock Band sessions at his house. I held his hand as he napped. I kissed his bald forehead goodbye, promising him to do a grand presentation of pictures from my trip when I get back, not knowing at all if I would ever see him again.
Gregg passed away while I was still in New Zealand.
As this Sunday was the anniversary of how it all started, it was hard not to think back of the entire journey.