I got an email today from an old childhood friend. JJ Brown used to be our neighbor when we lived on Lafitte St. in Lake Charles, LA. JJ's Mom and Dad helped raise my brother, sister and me. Her Dad, Jim, is a brilliant man with an Ivy League education. He's the Vice President of McNeese State University, and he specializes in the field of education. More than anything, though, Jim is a gentle, loving man with a warm spirit and a creative and hilarious sense of humor.
We grew up with the Brown's, and I don't have a single childhood memory that doesn't include this family. Perhaps the most striking memory I have of the Brown's is the day that my Father was killed in a car accident. Jim was driving the car that day, and he was the first to realize, after the dust had settled, that Dad - sitting next to him in the passenger seat - was dead. When I say that we are close to the Brown's, I mean that we have been through life and death with this family. I don't know life without them.
So when I recieved an email from JJ Brown, I was elated to hear from my old friend. Unfortunately, JJ shared with me that her Dad has B-Cell Lymphoma, and will begin radiation treatment this week. Jim is 73 years old, and the doctors are concerned about how the radiation will affect his body. Recieving this news was heartbreaking.
My surprise for today is one that causes me to reflect on my entire life, with the realization that I could potentially lose a profound piece of it. It's also a surprise that reminds me of the best things in life, like lifelong relationships with really, really good people. How fortunate I've been to experience such relationships, and how blessed I am to have such memories.