Tuesday, 12 November 2013

In Memory of the Late, Great Frank Fong

When someone shares something deep in their heart - some memory that has been lying there un-touched - and commits it to words on a page - something torn away that they had kept for themselves - some treasure buried in a lifetime of events that shaped who they are - and finds a way to capture it perfectly - and in sharing that part of themselves, manages to take some of your fear away - well, that is precisely the gift I received today. You see recently I discovered that someone I worked with had known someone very special in my life - long after we had said good-bye. His name was Frank and when I worked in Prince George doing news on the radio, he was a D.J. - a constant presence in the station - infamously wandering the halls in his bathrobe - a goofy grin on his lovely face. Frank and I were pals - buddies - friends with a possible undercurrent that maybe there might have been something more - that I found impossible at the time. He was funny and quirky and amazingly creative - with a huge, if faulty, heart and an indescribable loyalty to the people he loved. We would say to one another that if we found ourselves at the end of our thirties alone - we would marry one another - a running joke that kept up for a couple of years. Frank had had a complicated life and an even more complicated medical history. He had a heart transplant as a young man and years of the harsh anti-rejection drugs eventually led him to kidney failure. After several miserable years on dialysis, Frank made a choice to end it - a decision many in his life failed to understand. How could such a young man choose a certain death - over life? But Frank was unflinching, had had enough of the toll it had taken on his weary body and spent his last days - in his thirties, in hospice care with a plan to be surrounded by the love of his closest friends - something he managed to achieve. We had both moved on long before that and eventually lost touch - as people sometimes regrettably do - but when I learned he was gone I mourned him more than I can describe and very bitterly regretted the fact I hadn't stayed in touch for what would be the final years of his life. But what I didn't know was that in his final days - and for a period before that - he had somehow connected with the woman who wrote to me today. They had shared emails and phone calls including one in particular just before he passed away. Her memories of him, her sweet and funny and heart-breaking recollections about how their lives had touched - are what she gave to me today. A man who literally walked in the shoes (Eryn!) that I now walk. Who came to the same clear conclusion that I have come to - and somehow the memory of that - was so profoundly reassuring and sad and comforting - that it made me laugh and cry (in a good way) all at once. In memory of Frank , because as they say - only the good die young. Thank-you Eryn - for this amazing and beautiful gift. Xo

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