Death and Technology: Give Me My Friend Back

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Josh Lowe, Nov 22, 2002.

  1. Josh Lowe

    Josh Lowe Screenwriter

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    This is such an interesting time we live in.

    We can communicate, by voice or keystroke, with anyone in the world with a like connection. We can retrieve copies of public documents off of computers in the remotest parts of the world in seconds, we can immerse ourselves in any culture we choose with a few mere keystrokes.

    We can build structures so enormous that they have their own weather systems. We can build cars that get nearly 40 miles per gallon of gasoline and protect their passengers from unheard of levels of impact compared to only a couple of decades ago.

    If a person wanted to he could dip his toes in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on the same day.

    But what lies inside our own bodies is still nearly a complete mystery. A simple overproduction of cells, a system gone haywire that can't be stopped. It kills so many people and we struggle to even fully understand how it works, let alone how to stop it.

    I'm talking about cancer. The disease that in all likelihood is going to take the life of my closest friend. He'll probably be dead within 4 months. A quarter of a year. A season. He's not even 26 years old yet. His birthday is on December 19. His name is Jeffrey Allen Sample. I love him like a brother and consider him a brother, and he's going to leave me.

    He's going to leave all of us, and this world will be worse off for it. He's going to leave the girl he met and fell in love with barely a year ago. The girl he was going to marry and spend the rest of his life with. The girl he wanted to have children with in any way they could. Adoption, artificial insemination, whatever it took. You see, the chemotherapy sterilized him. That happened early on. We all felt very badly about it, but it wasn't the end of the world.

    It's Hodgkin's Lymphoma that he has. What some people ignorantly refer to as the "easy" cancer to overcome. The cancer that pro athletes get, miss a year for treatment, then return to their careers. It's cancer of the lymph nodes. I didn't even know what a lymph node was until Jeff got sick. I won't bore you with the description, but it's important. It helps you breathe. And when they're overcome with cancer, you die.

    Jeff was diagnosed in early 2001. Back in December, they thought it was a rare form of pneumonia. Then even possibly tuberculosis. It was almost a relief to us when it was diagnosed as Hodgkins, because it had been so long without answers and because Hodgkins was easy to beat. Mario Lemieux got it and was tearing up the ice again a year later, right?

    As the year progressed, it slowly became apparent that Jeff's bout with Hodgkins wasn't going to be a cakewalk. He had tumors spread to his spine, leading to a cracked vertebra. Jeff spent hours with levels of pain that most of us will never experience in our lives. Morphine wouldn't even completely cut through the pain in his back.

    They eventually got the tumors under control. Chemo, chemo, chemo. So much chemo I can't even recall. So much vomiting and sickness. But it's all in the name of getting better, right? And for a long time, he was doing better. We felt like things were on the right track. Jeff reached the point of receiving a stem cell transplant, which everybody believed would be the final stroke to his return to health.

    Problem is, it didn't work. His tumors were returning. And possibly spreading. So Jeff and family took off for two weeks from their home in Key Largo FL to visit MD Anderson medical center in Houston, TX. MDA and Sloan Kettering in NYC comprise two of the finest cancer hospitals in the world. If anybody had answers for Jeff, it was them.

    Jeff's two week trip was to work on beginning the search for a bone marrow donor. They felt this transplant would give Jeff his next best shot at returning to health. But while he was visiting Houston, Jeff got sick again. His fevers came way up and he was admitted to the hospital. They found more growth. The doctors at MD Anderson admitted him and felt he should stay in Houston in their care.. indefinitely.. until he was ready for his transplant. That was in April of 2002.

    Between April and November, Jeff was in and out of the hospital more times than I can count. His parents ended up renting an apartment nearby and living in Houston nearly full time. They've never left his side. Once again, Jeff began experiencing levels of pain that I can't relate to you, because neither you nor I have any frame of reference. When the tumors spread to his back again, the pain got to be so bad that Fentanyl, a painkiller so powerful it makes Morphine look weak in comparison, had no effect. He sat there and endured it like a soldier. He never bitched. He never complained. He never threw his fist in the air and cursed God. He accepted it without question. The constant barrage of drugs weakened him further. He took drugs for everything. Drugs to make him go to the bathroom. Drugs to keep him from vomiting. Drugs to reduce his anxiety. The chemotherapy drugs. Painkillers. Drugs to reduce the side effects of the other drugs he was taking. All this pain now, for the purpose of saving his life later. That's the story, that's how they give it to you. And we all understood, it was the end result that mattered.

    I could go on at length about the physical changes he experienced. His hair was straight before he got sick. After it grew back from chemo, it was curly. He lost an inordinate amount of weight, at one point he was around 140lbs. Jeff was 6 feet 2 inches tall in November of 2000. Now he's 5 feet 10 inches tall. There's so much more, but it doesn't matter. It's that precious end result, stopping that bodily function gone out of control that it all boils down to, right? Sterility, pain, suffering, physical and mental changes.. that's just collateral damage.

    The problem is, no it's not collateral damage. That stuff has its own trap: it weakens you. It weakens your immune system. Chemo is an indiscriminate animal. There are many different drugs given in many different combinations that operate under the banner of "chemotherapy." Some of these drugs are unpleasant but tolerable. Some of them are derived from chemicals used to make things like mustard gas. Some of them are so sensitive to light and temperature that aluminum foil has to be wrapped around the IV lines as it's pumped into the recipient's body.

    The chemo wore his immune system down. His white blood cell count had been falling since the beginning, but now it was staying dangerously low. Jeff entered a period where his health was walking a tightrope. If he fell on one side, insufficient medication, his tumors awaited him. If he fell to the other side, all sorts of infections, many of them life-threatening, awaited him.

    And it's not a tightrope walk that a sick person can maintain for long. In September, Jeff got sick. A very simple and rudimentary viral infection. One that went unnoticed. One that, in fact, he probably picked up during one of his inumerable stays in the hospital. The virus hit so hard and so fast that there was no warning. Within hours both of his lungs had nearly completely filled with fluid. His parents rushed him back to the hospital and the doctors worked overtime to save his life. They worked feverishly to drain Jeff's lungs and restore his breathing. It nearly came to the point of having to intubate him and put him on a respirator. And due to his cancer that was a dangerous proposition.

    When talking to Jeff's father a few days after the most critical moments, he confided in me that Jeff had nearly died. I was shocked. Jeff's dad is a very terse, stoic, no nonsense man. If he said something like that, he meant it. I asked him how close it came. "VERY close" was his response. I felt a cold chill run up my spine. I'd already been having dreams. I try not to put too much significance into my dreams, but sometimes they're vivid and explicit in ways that stay with me for a long time. I'd dreamed about Jeff, and it was a dream that saddened me so greatly I cried for hours after I woke up. It was after this talk with Jeff's dad that I had my first moment of doubt about the outcome of all of this.

    After September, things were quieter. Jeff was back in and out of the hospital a few times. No emergencies, just chemo and maintenance. The fear I had felt began to abate some, and the hope that the doctors would be able to get the tumors suppressed and do the marrow transplant had begun to grow. They had found a match for a marrow donor a long time ago, so that hurdle was already crossed. Jeff had fallen in love with the sister of the wife of a friend of ours from high school. They had met back in January of 2001, during our friend's wedding. That's when Jeff was first seriously ill. Back then, we thought it was a bad case of the flu.

    Since they met they grew closer and talked on the phone, email, and instant messaging nonstop. She was attending college at Iowa State. She had begun to regularly visit Jeff and it lifted his spirits beyond what any medicine could do. When he was in the hospital with his second round of agonizing back pain, she stood by him day and night. She did bedpan duty. She helped him put on his clothes. She had no obligation to be there and do those things, she loved him and he loved her. And I felt truly happy for him. And within weeks, he confided in me that he was sure that she was "The One." I could certainly see why.

    From September until now, I felt like things were on the mend. That Jeff's tumors were going to be beaten down long enough to allow the doctors perform their enchanted magic, the ever-distant Marrow Transplant that promised a panacean resolution to all his woes. I asked Jeff if he and his family would like some company for this Thanksgiving, to which he accepted. That made me glad; I hadn't seen him since that January, during the wedding. I talked to him on instant messenger practically every day of his illness, but I was never physically there. We had our silent understanding: he didn't want people needlessly hovering and I didn't want to be in the way. But we could still communicate at length, and that made it pretty easy to handle.

    Now we skip ahead from early this month to yesterday. I hadn't seen Jeff online in a week or so. This wasn't too unusual: He would spend time in the hospital for chemo and usually not feel conversive afterward. Also, he had mentioned he was having more of a problem with a lack of sleep and anxiety lately, so he didn't feel like being on the computer as much. Still, I was about to call and check up on him, as well as confirm with his dad that he would be able to pick me up on the airport. I was due to fly in on Tuesday, November 26. Which happens to be my birthday.

    While sitting at my desk, my cellphone rang. I answered it and it was Jeff. I didn't realize what phone call this was until Jeff was pretty far into his news. This phone call was the one I've been afraid of, the one I've lived through in the back corner of my mind every day for two years. His voice sounded a little weaker than normal. The drugs were having their effect. Jeff started off telling me he had been in the hospital, but nothing serious had happened. However, the doctors had made the discovery that his right lung was no longer working. His left lung was working normally, and he reassured me a person can live a normal life with one functional lung.

    The next news was what I was waiting for. I felt it coming, like a deer staring into the headlights of a truck on a lonely stretch of road. The lymphoma group at MD Anderson was out of tricks. He was not responding to any of the chemotherapy regimens and they had no more to offer. They were officially cutting Jeff loose. Their recommendation was that he return home, stay comfortable, and be with his family. The doctor concluded that without further treatment, Jeff could expect to live only another two to four months.

    Fastball to the head. I knew it was coming, I felt it was coming, but I couldn't move. I stood there and took it. I stayed composed. I didn't cry out, I didn't say anything for a minute. Then I remember asking if Jeff and his family were going to seek alternatives. He said yes, absolutely. I then remember asking if they still wanted me to come visit. The answer was an emphatic yes. All my happiness at visiting my friend for Thanksgiving had transformed into pain. Everything, the entire world, changed its hue in a split second. The color dropped out of everything, the sound faded to a dull buzz. I told Jeff I needed some time to digest the news. He understood.

    I hung up the phone and left work. I drove home, walked into my bedroom, closed my door, sat down on my bed, and began to think. It was a bit past 4PM when I got home. When I lifted my head and looked around, it was dark outside. I looked at my clock: it read 1:39AM. I had never been fully asleep, I had never been fully awake. I sat there the entire time, running through my life for the past 10 years. The length of my friendship with this person who was going to die. The person who was as close to me as my own parents, the one person who when I said something, no matter how off or obscure or off the cuff, instantly knew exactly what I was thinking. A person who regularly finished my sentences for me and vice versa, much to the humor and annoyance of other people. My brother. He's going to die before the snow's gone. He's going to leave without ever having lived his dreams. He never even got a chance to try. And I'm so hurt, and I'm so angry inside that I don't know how I'll ever let go of what it is I feel.

    He's going to be gone. And I'm going to spend the rest of my life lying to myself, lying to my friends, lying to my family, and lying to all of those people at that funeral that I understand that these things happen. That nothing is for chance, and that we can't rail ourselves against something we have no grasp or control over.

    And part of me is going to die with him, a part of me I cherish and will never be able to find again.

    And there's nothing I can do about it.

    And that's how it is.

    If you have a best friend, you need to tell that person right now that they matter to you and that you love them, because before you might even realize it's happened, they might be gone.

    I'm getting ready to leave to visit my friend and I'm going to tell him those things. He knows, though. And I am happy that we'll have our time together. And hopefully again in December, the other friends from our whole crew in high school and college will gather again one last time like we used to every week, our ritual. Watch movies at Dan's house. Play volleyball at Holiday Isle during the summer. Go up to see a movie in Miami plus gorge ourselves at Outback while we flirt with the waitress. Leave ridiculous tips so we can get seated faster next time, that way we'll be sure to make it in time for the movie. Cutting each other down mercilessly and laughing at all of it. Going out and getting drunk in Tallahassee. Where does it end? It's not supposed to end at 26 years of your life.

    I don't know what else to say so I'll just shut up now and enjoy the time I have.

    If you know Jeffrey Allen Sample, you are almost certainly his friend. If you don't know Jeff, you've missed out.

    I love you, Jeff. You are and will always be my best friend.
     
  2. Andrew_Sch

    Andrew_Sch Cinematographer

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    Josh, I really have no words that can convey anything meaningful about this situation. I guess all I can say is that your friend is a very brave person, and you're a great friend. Though he may be leaving soon, he'll leave a part of himself behind in his friends and family that will never die out.
     
  3. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    Josh,

    I'm very sorry to hear about your friend.

    He is very fortunate to have a friend like you by his side.

    I've been very lucky in that I have not yet lost anyone very close to me, so I cannot even imagine how you must feel right now.

    I try to make a point of letting my loved ones know how I feel about them, but sometimes it just doesn't seem like enough. I truly hope they know.
     
  4. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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    That was a beautiful tribute Josh. There's nothing I can say except that I read it, and I'm glad you wrote it. I hope everybody reads it. Jeff is lucky to have you as a friend. You are lucky to have Jeff as a friend. I'm sorry this is happening.

    Thank you for sharing your friend with us.
     
  5. Jeff Rogers

    Jeff Rogers Second Unit

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    You and Jeffrey and his family are in my prayers.

    God bless.
     
  6. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

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    I once read somewhere that Ozzy had this response to his wife's colon cancer..
    "Sometimes life has a way of kicking you in the balls."

    I'm so sorry to hear this. I've never lost a non-family member to something like this, but someday I probably will and a very close friend of mine just did.

    And his soul-mate (which she apparently is) must feel like a torture victim. Her life is wrapped up in him and, from what you're saying about your friend, she will be alone.

    Life just isn't fair but what the hell can we do about it.
     
  7. Hugh Jackes

    Hugh Jackes Supporting Actor

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    With your moving words, you have created a kind of immortality.

    My faith says that Jeff does not need prayers, he will be in a better place. My prayers will be with you and Jeff's family, that you find the strength to weather this hurricane and become stronger people, more able to relish the now.
     
  8. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    I'm really sorry to hear this. I don't know what else to say, because it seems like you've already said it...stay strong, and don't let his inevitable passing ruin your life. We've all got so much to live for. It's too bad Jeff doesn't have much time left.
     
  9. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    Josh, that was a tremendous post. I can relate in that I've lost someone very dear to me only recently.

    I first met Tish (short for Letitia) online during the summer of '98. We got on pretty well and ended up meeting in person (she lived 170 miles away near the east coast of England). Thus began a relationship of 2 1/2 years.

    But, a year later, Tish got ill. She had to have her heart stopped and restarted in the crash room. It was going wacko.

    On December 30th 1999, she had major surgery. She had to have an implatable cardio defibrillator placed next to her heart. This would act as a pacemaker and also give the necessary 'shock' (think the two pads you see used in ER) when the heart went off the rails.

    So New Year celebrations going into 2000 were spent at Papworth hospital, Cambridgeshire. We sipped champagne and watched the fireworks from the hospital room balcony.

    A few weeks later, the root cause of the problem was diagnosed. Tish had developed a rare connective-tissue disorded called polymyositis. It was attacking the muscles and the heart was the main victim. How the disease came about wasn't known (and still isn't), but it's thought it is brought on by exreme stress. Tish's previous partner, having developed mental illness, killed himself a couple of months after I met her.

    She battled on and seemed to be doing OK. She'd go through ups and downs, various changes to her medication. Because of the steroids, her weight shot up. She had to give up work and went through some ridiculous bouts of bad luck, but she hung on in there.

    During the summer of 2001, we both realised the relationship had become 'close friends', so decided to carry on in that fashion. Nothing really changed. except the frequency of my visits.

    Roll forward to August of this year. I was going through the break up of another relationship, and there was Tish helping me through it all. She was an absolute star. During September I made three visits to see her, probably more cumulative time than I'd spent with her all year. I was really enjoying spending so much time with my friend again.

    She still couldn't work, but she was trying to make the most of her life. The little dog she'd bought a year earlier continued to give her much happiness and a reason to get up each morning. She had just started an art class and was doing brilliantly.

    But, she caught a nasty chest infection. At first we just thought it was a bug, but after two weeks a little more concern started to creep in. I was with her during the first weekend of October, and while she seemed off-colour (and coughing), she wasn't too bad.

    I spoke to her quite alot during the following week and over the next weekend. She was getting worse, but refused to go into hospital to get checked out.

    On Tuesday 15th October, I called her - as I did most mornings - at around 10:30am. A male voice answered. It was a paramedic. He passed the phone to Tish's father. What was going on? Then, her dad told me Tish had died. He and her mom had gone 'round to her house after not getting an answer on the phone. They had found her, still wrapped up in bed, still warm, but gone.

    I raced over there. My average speed for the 3hr journey was 89mph. By the time I got there, her body had been taken away. But I saw her later at the hospital morgue. She looked so peaceful. Just like she did when she was asleep, but a deeper, more tranquil sleep than I'd ever seen her in.

    We later found out that it was her heart that had failed. The polymyositis had caused too much damage during the past three years. The ICD had fired off at around 8am and tried to correct the VT, but couldn't. It was too far gone. She died in her sleep, in her favourite place - her own bed.

    The shock of losing her was unbelievable - and still is. However we all put a big effort into planning the funeral. I saw her again the day before. She'd been put into her own clothes, with her own make-up on. In the coffin was her own handbag filled with the usual bits and bobs she liked to carry around. There were photos of the people she was closest to. In her right hand was placed a photo of the dog with a lock of it's fur. Seeing her like that was so helpful. I really got the impression that day that she'd left all the hassle of the world behind her and was now at peace.

    Like Tish herself, the funeral was a somewhat unique event. We think she would have appreciated it.

    Though I'm trying to get on with things as normally as possible, I'm still in a dream-state half the time. I've set up a memorial website for her (see signature below) and I'm in the process of archiving dozens of photos of her. She will always be here with me and any future potential partners will have the unenviable task of living up to her (at least in my mind). She was the greatest, closest, most superb friend I've ever known. We were more than friends because of everything we'd been through together. We'd talk every day, usually more than once. We'd bitch about bad things, be happy about the good things, and just chat about everything inbetween. Despite the physical distance between us, we really were soul mates.

    I know, that one day I will see her again. Of that I have no doubt. Don't ask me how I know. I just know. I have a vision of her right now, in some big art studio pottering around making things. Or baking muffins. Or sitting at a bar sipping a Pimms.

    I still cannot believe she's gone. Though it's been almost six weeks now, everything is still very fresh in my mind.

    So Josh, what you say about telling people how much you appreciate them is very true. I am very, very thankful that my last relationship ended when it did, because had that not happened, I wouldn't have spent so much time with Tish during the last few weeks of her life. I wouldn't have had that close conversation to the same degree. And while I didn't say so explicitly, I did let her know how much she meant to me. It's odd how things work out. If you had told me the day after I got dumped that it was for the best, I'd have probably socked you one in the eye. But now, I am eternally grateful that it happened when it did.

    I look back now and think about the conversations during the last few days and weeks of her life. A week before she died, we were sitting in a diner enjoying a big hamburger. We were watching some movie on DVD. We were just doing normal stuff. And yet, how can it be that she only had a few days left?

    The point is, that none of us know when we're going to go. Tish's passing could have been far more traumatic. She could have been awake, she could have been in agony, we might have found her at the bottom of the stairs. She could have been in hospital (and she would have really hated that). I am THANKFUL that she went how she did. If it had to happen, there really could not have been any better way for her to go. It's not fair that she died at the age of 32, not fair that so many peice-of-filth people have none of the problems she endured, not fair that I'm still here while she isn't. But, that is the way of things. None of us know when our time will be up. You have to make the most of what you have, and tell the people closest to you what they mean to you, even indirectly. Because you never know. One day, you might lose one of them. How you continue after the event can say a lot of about the person that is gone. Absorb them, internalise them, make them impact your life. But don't wait until they've gone. Let them know.

    I'm glad I did, even if only in my own weird way. She knew I was OK and she knew she'd helped me to get there. The fact that I did talk and see her so much of late I think proved to her that she was the most important person to me.

    Rob.
     
  10. Glenn L

    Glenn L Stunt Coordinator

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    I have yet to hear a cancer story that doesn't sound like this. Even my father's is similar. Months/years of treatment consisting of the kind of suffering I can only imagine, with the light at the end of the tunnel actually visible. Then it goes away.
    I was away at college when my father slipped into a coma. He never woke. I was at his bed in the hospital when he died the next day. I know how hard it might be to be near a loved one and see the way cancer (and chemo) has destroyed them. Trust me, it doesn't compare to 12 years later & knowing you could have been there. Josh is absolutely right. Be with them now.
     
  11. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Damn, I don't even know the guy but I had to head for the bathroom here at the office. My eyes were all red. As someone who has also lost a close friend to lymphoma, I definitely have some idea of the emotional rollercoater you been through Josh...the peaks, valleys and everything in between. Nothing else I can say for now except try to stay strong for your friend.
     
  12. Tom Fynan

    Tom Fynan Stunt Coordinator

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    Josh,

    My heart goes out to you, and to your friend. He is indeed blessed to have you. I am an oncologist, and spend my days caring for people with cancer. I have also lost many dear friends to AIDS, so I have seen lots of death, personally and professionally. All I can offer you is to grieve as you need to, give your friend your support and your love, and don't be afraid to talk to him about what is happening. I have learned that the cliches are true: life goes on and time does heal everything, and as much as it hurts today, your grief will change into something comforting and peaceful. And if your friend does die, he really will always be with you. I will keep you both in my prayers.

    Tom Fynan

    PS: Don't let your friend give up hope. If he wants to look for other treatments, urge him to do so. One thing I know from experience is that we doctors are often wrong.
     
  13. Kyle Richardson

    Kyle Richardson Screenwriter

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    Rob and Josh,
    My words wont make things any better for you or your loved ones, but hopefully my actions will. Tonight and through this weekend I will be spending absolutely no time for myself, business, etc. and devote it to my family to show them how much I love them. Something like this reminds me to spend more time CONSISTANTLY with the ones who matter and not as much on trivial items. While my actions wont improve your situation hopefully you will know your words were not in vain and will help others

    Thank you for your stories.
     
  14. Josh Lowe

    Josh Lowe Screenwriter

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    Something else I wanted to add.

    I don't begrudge any of the doctors. I know they've done everything they can.

    Jeff's first oncologist, the one he had when he was still at home in Florida, has my highest respect and I've never met or spoken a word to her. He's had nothing but tremendous things to say about her and someday I will meet her and thank her. Her name is Doctor Grace Wang.

    That being said, one thing I have learned from this is that medical treatments for cancer are about as accurate and reliable as predicting the next Tuesday's weather at 8:35 AM. It's pure educated guesswork.

    Chemotherapy is like those target games at the local fair. If you shoot out the entire target and don't leave -any- of the black circle behind, not even a tiny bit, you win a prize of dubious value. And the target, the human tissue, is full of holes, scarred, and damaged.

    I pray that someday soon something more discriminating is found.

    Thank you to everyone for your kind words. I feel like I am eulogizing the living, but I had to write that down while it was still at the surface. Jeff is still here and as long as he's alive, there's hope.
     
  15. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    fwiw...

    the last time i saw my mom was on a bad note and she died a few days later. i never got to say goodbye or tell her any of the things i should have. it's the single biggest regret in my life.

    so, at least you'll be able to spend your remaining time with your friend and let him know how important he has been to you. this is truly pricess.

    you sound like a real solid guy...i wish you and your friend the best.
     
  16. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

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    My God Josh, your heartfelt words reinforce the truth that love is everything in the world. Friends like you are a price above rubies. Truly, You are among his rods and staves of comfort.
     
  17. Ning Wong

    Ning Wong Stunt Coordinator

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    ....

    your post brang a lot of things in my life into perspective.


    thank you.
     
  18. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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    Josh,

    my heart goes out to you. I am very happy for your friend that he has you in the world; you, sir, are one in a million.

    That being said, the cliches are true. Time does heal a lot of things. I lost my mother, my grandmother, and my wife's grandmother this year. The only one we expected was my grandmother - and that was because she waned so terribly fast after Mom's death. I miss them, very, very much, and Christmas this year will be difficult - but life does go on, and there are others to take care of, such as your friend's parents, his partner, and, yourself. Do NOT shortchange yourself; it is easy to do.

    You have a chance to talk to your friend, under very trying circumstances, about any subject you feel like. Do this. Be there. If you're up to it, talk honestly, deeply, often. You are a source of strength for him, and he is for you. And memories of his will be for you when he is gone.

    God bless all of you.

    Mike
     
  19. Paul Jenkins

    Paul Jenkins Supporting Actor

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    Josh, please accept my deepest sympathy for your friend. I lost my father last week to CLL (Chronic lymphocytic leukemia) and watching him fight the disease for 9 years before finally losing the battle was the thoughest thing I've ever witnessed, and hope to never do so again.

    All the while my Dad stood strong and resolute, to the day he died he just wanted to be done with the CLL and out on the golf course. Its hard to even put down words to describe the loss, your post brought back tears that have fallen many times over in the last few weeks.

    I applaud you and your friend. Stay strong and stay there for him, you mean more to him than you can imagine.

    God bless
    Paul
     
  20. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    To hear his name touches me, Jeffrey Allen Sample.
    You ring it like a bell, in pain and love and great pity, I hear it with solemn respect and acknowledge the privilege of your sharing your past memories of joy. Happier times which by contrast, must equally deepen your present grief.
    You are now living where there is no middle ground between despair and joy and are set apart from the everyday trivialities and nonsense of life to which those not similarly touched can ever possibly relate. It as if you are wandering in a vast dessert with one feature in a wasted landscape. A source, a fountain, and in that fountain you contemplate one great mystery with great anger. Those water’s are unending and have more depth than you can plumb. I wish you peace in your search and hope that you will find that allowing this source to overflow into your soul can bring that which is eternal and never destroyed.


    "I shall remember while the light lives yet
    And if the night time I shall not forget."

    Algernon Charles Swinburne
     

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