Thursday, September 8, 2011

Farewell, Sweet Man.


I don't get into religious discussions with people. First of all, I am intelligent enough to realize I don't know nearly enough to argue with others on this topic. Secondly, I think religion and politics are personal conversations that do not need to be discussed with strangers. However, I do believe that everyone should practice what they preach. To me, religion is a kind way of living, a way of treating others, it doesn't only come into play on Sunday's during the hours the preacher man is preachin'. That being said...

Not long after I was diagnosed with melanoma, my Dad informed me that an older gentleman had given one of his friends a check to pass along to our family. Dad, being the proud and sweet man that he is, tried over and over again to refuse. He kindly told the man's friend that it was so generous of him to offer to help us but that we were fine. The friend informed my Dad that the nearly stranger would be offended if Dad refused the money. Dad agreed, passed the envelope along to me, and I thankfully paid off some medical bills and wrote the sweet stranger a thank you note. A few weeks after my second surgery, another check arrives. Again, we tried to refuse, but the man insisted. He said that his family were long time contributors to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, he knew how wonderful (but pricey) the facility is, and he wanted his contribution to go directly towards my battle. Again, we accepted it on the terms that I would finally get to meet this stranger face to face.

So, a few months back my Dad, Step Mom, and I were joined by this sweet man for dinner. Oh, what a life he has lived...For two hours I heard about his time in the Army, his years traveling around the world, etc. If you know me, you know that stories fascinate me. I could listen for hours. By the end of dinner, I realized this man did not help our family because he could, he helped because he wanted to.

With a heavy heart, I am writing this post as my farewell to our Sweet Man. He died of a massive heart attack yesterday. No one ever knows when their time will come. He was a man who did not need a special occasion to bring a smile to someone's face. He was the stranger who brought Arby's sandwiches to the watermen because the local restaurant was closed and he did not want them to miss lunch. He was the man who called my dad randomly just to chat about the weather and football. He was the man who honestly would have been perfectly fine never meeting me---It would not have stopped him from asking about me or helping my family emotionally and financially. He was that man. He did not need a reward for helping others. He did it because he wanted to...just like he told me.

Rest well, sweet man. I will never forget the pure kindness you showed me.


PS---- My Dad just called me back. He saw our sweet friend on Monday, the man showed him 4 gold coins that he was going to have turned into necklaces. 3 of the coins were for his daughters. The other coin was for me... And now the waterworks begin. Sweet dreams, Mr. Sparks. You have all our love.

5 comments:

Rich McDonald said...

Nicely done and very thoughtful of you. I hope his family somehow sees this.

Mrs. H said...

That one was a real tear-jerker, Chels! Ahhh! That was such a kind and thoughtful thing for him to do. Bless his heart. Well, I'd say we can rest assured knowing where he's resting now. People like that gentleman only go one way!

Kate said...

Oh Wow, what a beautiful soul. And to be able to keep the gold coin as a rememberance is so special!

Brittany said...

Wow! It's hard to know what to say after that. He will definitely be a man that will never be forgotten. The end of your story was so touching. I'm sure he's welcomed with open arms in Heaven.

Laura Bren said...

Speechless