Sheile (John was his first name, but everyone called him by his last) was a good friend to Brian. I'm sure I met Sheile through Brian. Sheile's been gone quite a while now, due to fucking cancer. Brian used to go up and see him at his house, as he was dying. Sheile was one of the older guys out of their group at the time (in his 40's I believe). He used to manage a Smokey's Pizza place, and Brian, Thor, and all the guys from that group used to go up after closing time, and sit and drink beer, play darts, eat pizza all night. They all had a pretty good thing going for a few years. In fact, whenever we move, I'm reminded of that, as we are always packing up the "Big Daddy" glasses (huge beer glasses from Smokey's). Anyway, I wasn't real close to Sheile, but Brian sure was. In fact, Sheile had started working out w/ Brian just months or so before he was diagnosed.
When Sheile died, of course the guys all took it hard, but acted tough, as guys in their late 20's, and early 30's will do. (Well, actually it turns out any age). Brian and Thor were pallbearers at Sheile's funeral. Now, I actually knew Thor before Brian, as he was my college basketball asst. coach's best friend. So, one night I went out w/ my friend Michelle (and her boyfriend "Biker.") The night has always been referred to as "60 something pitchers night." We actually ran the Sports Page out of beer. Anyway, Thor was there, along w/ Brian. That's how Brian and I met (Sheile was probably there, too). And yes, I'd just turned 20...arrest me, I was underage in a bar. It only happened the one time ; ) So, I find myself getting things a little out of place, as I don't really know how to write this "story." So, back to after Sheile's funeral. Brian, me, and Thor went to Charlie's to drink some beers. Naturally, Brian and Thor were very sad. It was "okay" to be sad, without all the guys around. But although Brian and Sheile were much closer than Thor and Sheile, Thor seemed to be taking it very, very hard. It really made Thor think about himself and his own mortality. Now, I don't even remember the funeral (my memory is terrible), but I remember being at Charlie's as if it were yesterday. Thor was talking about when he died, and he he didn't think anyone will be at his funeral. What a drama queen :) Now, this was "Thor, God of Thunder, Legend of Love" talking. His real name was Russ. Oh, we liked to call him, "Prince of Porcelein," but he hated it, which is why we always called him that. Thor had so many friends. He was always the life of the party. He could also get pretty down (which, really at the time, I didn't understand it was real depression). So, we told Thor, he was CRAZY! Look at how many friends you have...you'll have that big family of yours, your college friends, your old baseball teammates, your softball teammates, your bowling buddies, and on and on and on. And, then he would come up with people. Inevitably, it turned into, do you think this girl would come, or this girl would come :)
When Brian and I bought our first house, Thor quickly asked if he could move in with us (now, this is typical Thor fashion...it was before we even got the keys). I think he ended up living with us for a couple of years. For the most part it was good. His room was a wreck...OMG....Thank God he did a good job of keeping the door closed. I remember when we got Junior, he was actually jealous of Junior (and that always remained so). Then, when I adopted Sara (without telling Brian), I remember the two of them walking through the door, and Brian was like, what the hell? And Thor actually was happy I'd gotten her. He ended up just loving Sara. In fact, maybe he's trying to get her to chase something now.
After Thor moved out, we met every week or so for lunch (for a couple of years or so), while he worked about a mile or so from me. He and I had a lot in common, in that we didn't know what we wanted to do for a living. We'd think, out loud, long and hard, what would be a job we would actually enjoy? And can we make money at it? I'm still trying to figure that one out. We'd also have weight loss competitions, which inevitably he'd start kicking my ass, and then we'd both just go back to our old ways. Thor was not a very healthy person. I really saw this, when he lived with us. When he dieted, he did the "Atkins Diet," which I think is the worst "diet" in the world. But back then, we didn't know this. He wanted to be healthy, he just always fell back into his demons.
After being unemployed for a while, Thor went back to school to be a CNA. He seemed to just love it! He loved working (this was part of the schooling) with the elderly, and all of these other things that surprised the hell out of me. I even asked him if it bothered him when he had to clean up their "messes," and he said, plainly, no. He liked this job. I was so happy for him.
Just about the time he was finishing school (I think it was the last week, or they were done, and they just had graduation that week), Thor had a fatal heart attack. He was in his early 40's. Even after his folks could tell something was wrong, and were calling the ambulance, Thor pleaded with them not to call, because he didn't have insurance. For so long, I was so angry that he finally found something he liked, and he was going to have insurance, and that none of this would've happens if he hadn't lost his job, etc. I felt like, had he had insurance, he would've gone to the Dr. that week, and they could have caught it. Years later, I was telling Booge this, and he said, no...he probably still wouldn't have gone to the Dr. This still would've happened. He had a bad heart and didn't take good enough care of it. That helped take some of my anger away. Oh, and you know what...they had a huge party for all of his friends at the Moose Club. I remember you could hardly walk in there. There were people there that we hadn't seen in ages, and everyone was there, for the same reason. To raise a glass to Thor, and to tell the millions of funny stories everyone had about him. I'm sure Thor was very, very pleased.
Of course, afterward, there were several of us that went out to Thor's fave bar in Washougal. We proceeded to get very, very drunk. I remember us all doing Thor's favorite karaoke songs (nobody could command a room like him, doing Sweet Caroline, or like when he and Randy would do Taking Care of Business). It was Brian, me, Jody, Thor's brother, Lee, and Lanny. I think Randy came out and met us later. It was an eerie, eerie feeling not having Thor there. And I told them the story of what Thor told me he wanted when he died, and how happy he had to have been with everything.
Fast forward about 5 months, to the annual bowling event. It was that same 'ol crowd. Some of which, we hadn't seen since Thor passed away. One of them was Lanny. The thing I always remember about Lanny, was him being one of the guys and that we joked, etc. I remember him giving me his number and telling me to call so we could get together. Of course, I never did, but that wouldn't be uncommon for one friend to do to another. Then, the next time I saw him (I think at another bowling thing), he's like why didn't you call, we should go out. I said, you know I'm married to Brian, right? (We were probably married close to 10 years at that point), and his eyes got big, and he said, no I didn't. And you know what, everyone was always in a big group of friends, maybe he really didn't know, who knows. Brian really laughed at that one. Anyway, Lanny starts to talk to me about Thor, and he was getting really serious and kind of upset. Lanny told me that he hadn't seen a Dr. in 25 years. Oh, I jumped all over his shit. Hadn't he learned anything from Thor, blah, blah, blah. You have to, because of your son, and I went on and on. He promised me he would see a Dr. soon. Now, Lanny was nothing like Thor. Lanny wasn't overweight or anything like that, but he'd been a hard partier, like many of us, but nothing to get too alarmed about. I remember Lanny was probably Jody's favorite out of all of those guys. She has a great story about him... Anyway, very shortly after the bowling event Lanny died (I believe there was a tear or hole in his aorta). Even if he had gone to the Dr., they probably wouldn't have caught it. Oh, btw I think J nick-named me, "the grim reaper" for quite a while after that.
It was the weirdest thing...all of these guys in their forties dying like that. It put a lot of those guys on notice, at the time. And I think, by me waking up this morning, thinking about them, it's putting me on notice, too. It's making me so very thankful that I'm out of my depression (and Good Lord, please never let me go back), and that I'm taking care of myself. It's been so long since I've done this. It's been so long, since I even cared about myself. Anyway, I've been avoiding going back to the cardiologist about my slow pulse, and "irregular" heartbeat. They even sent a certified letter last week, trying to get me back in there. I'm calling today. Everything will probably be normal, when I go back in (just as it has been), but I'm a fool, if I don't learn something from the loss of these friends. I've been a fool for many reasons. I know my stress levels and anxiety issues have taken my body to places they shouldn't be. I'm hopefully over all of that, but I'll need to hear it from a professional. So, I guess 40 is my reminder (along w/ three cool guys), that I need to do everything I can to take care of myself, not just on this 6 week plan, but forever. If you've read through all of this, I hope it has an impact on you, too. While I wish it weren't true, we aren't spring chickens anymore. The 40's are when are bodies can really start speaking to us in ways we never thought possible. Your body is your temple. Please take care of it. Thanks for listening to my ramblings.
Love you guys,
8:15 Smoothie-ish thing (bunch of fresh pineapple, 2 bananas, flax seed, water)
11:30 Wasn't hungry, but forced myself to eat this before I worked out. I'd just made bean soup, but thought that might be the best thing for my trainer to be around :) Bowl of spring mix salad w/ half an avocado, and a tiny bit of dressing. Brian must've used it last, because there was barely anything in there, and it should've been recycled.
3:00 Bowl of SW bean soup (see recipe)
6:00 Whole wheat spaghetti pasta w/ sauce and protein (fake meat) crumbles. Steamed broccoli and steame
30 mins. on incumbent bike
45 mins. w/ trainer on weights
Took Junior for 1/2 mile walk