There are all sorts of illnesses and diseases out there. Some worse than others.
Many folks lose their memory but have good physical health for years.
Others have a keen mind and yet are trapped in a body that fails them.
I really don’t know which one is worse.
This past summer my husband joined me in the U.S. He doesn’t get to Rhode Island too often. Sometimes years pass.
But he tries to connect with friends from “back in the day” when he has the chance.
Petie worked at a local college (Providence College) in the IT Department. My husband sold computers to the school. They met there and became friends. An unlikely pair. A skinny Jewish kid with long hair and an earring and a well-groomed Arab salesman in a suit. But whatever. It worked.
He would come over to the house. I remember him bringing my daughter a huge stuffed bunny when she was little. It was bigger than her at the time.
Back then Petie (that’s what my husband always called him) was a slender and very fit young man.
Visited us in Texas after we moved there in 1994.
But as is wont to happen people lose touch. Especially pre-Facebook.
Happens to all of us. Get busy. Move far away. Don’t take the time to touch base.
He received a message from Petie during this visit but when it popped up it was dated November of 2014. Like eighteen months ago. Not sure how that happens?
It read, “Hey, stranger… how you doing? It’s been too damn long!! Would love to catch up! Here’s my number.”
Petie didn’t pick up the phone and he wouldn’t be receiving any return texts from my husband.
Because he was dead from a horrific disease at the age of 50.
Petie was in great physical shape. A runner who put in miles each day.
Then came ALS. A disease that can target the most fit among us.
You don’t lose your mind. Just your body.
Petie was diagnosed at the end of 2013. Gone by March of this year.
And there’s nothing he could have done differently.
Read Pete’s story here.
It will help put a face to the “ice bucket challenge” that you’ve all heard about in the past couple of years.
In the end my husband could only make a donation to ALS in his old friend’s name. With the hope that some day soon, with more research, there will be no need for any more “ice bucket challenges.”
RIP Peter Weiblen