At 8:10 a.m., Wednesday, July 14, 2010, I decided to take my phones into the bathroom with me. Rarely does anyone call me, much less at that hour, but…
I had just sat down on the throne when the home line rang. It was my friend’s wife, and I knew. “Glenn won’t be at the meeting tonight. He just died. It was so sudden. He coughed and started hemorrhaging from his mouth, and before the paramedics got here 15 minutes later, he was gone.”
Fifteen minutes later.
“How are you?” I earnestly answered, knowing she must be experiencing shock. She didn’t hear me. When I asked a second time, I knew she was in shock.
“His body’s in the other room.”
I hadn’t seen Glenn since June 18 when I picked him up to go see my hiking bud who’d had a stroke. On our journey to Memorial Hospital, I remarked at how great Glenn looked. Alive, vibrant, tossing sexual innuendo into the air like an active volleyball.
He’d been undergoing chemo for lung cancer early Tuesday afternoons and radiation weekdays at 4:00 for a couple of months and had recently completed the series. Vietnam’s Agent Orange and the dreaded cigarette.
He said, “I’m almost disappointed that I’m not going in for chemo anymore. The people there were so kind. Fact is, I looked forward to it every week.” He’d been going to Penrose Cancer Center that apparently had hired people lovers. Praise God.
On July 3, he responded to my meeting reminder: “I’m looking forward to seeing y’all!
Due to life’s events, the group hadn’t seen him since April 15, except hiking bud Bob. In the hospital, Glenn asked for permission, which was granted, to lay his healing hands on Bob, who attributes his quick recovery to spiritual healing via Glenn.
Glenn knew people immediately, sensed what they needed, initiated energy. He was an honorary tribal member of some Native American tribe. Glenn joined them all, did it all. If there was a judgment, it wasn’t found in Glenn.
But I’m not saying Glenn was a saint. He wasn’t, and I’ll leave it at that. Every man has his opinion, his past, his life.
The night before Glenn passed, my aunt whom I earlier wrote about (her husband of 62 years had passed) called. “You have incredible talent,” she said. “I just found another piece you had written,” and she read it to me.
On March 31, 1996, I had written about the last time you see someone, to make it positive, because it might be the last time you see this person. As she read it, I was amazed at the profundity in its words. But most writers know that feeling when they arouse themselves out of the trance.
My final trek with Glenn was a good finale: "I love you."
On the night of our monthly IONS* meeting, we honored our friend. And while we felt his humor, his spirit, his insightful observations, we deeply missed his physical presence.
From Glenn, Sunday, March 28, 2010, 1:49 a.m.:
"Many of you (and friends from other milieux as well) have asked what I would have you do, regarding my impending demise (which could be measured in days, weeks, months).
"What I’d ask, I guess, is that you would remember the good and use it as confirmation of the rightness in your lives, while taking note of my mistreakes and using them to avoid similar mishaps in your own lives.
"I would ask for kind thoughts, and an occasional boot in the rear to remind me to avoid the maudlin and pointless drama.
"Above all, I would ask that you nurture your love and compassion for all of Creation, for each act of kindness builds (imo) to the critical mass that I believe will eventually carry everything into that transcendent future that I see on the horizon.
"Peace and Love, Glenn"
Glenn leaves six children and a wonderful wife on this earth.