When I was growing up, friends would go into hospital and never come out. Most times, there was ample warning – their dying process had begun and I knew they would not be going home.
But this was all before lung transplants.
Over the last year, I’ve learnt to expect the unexpected and that the unexpected always stings that little bit more than if you know what lies ahead.
Last week, my friend Edward – Ed, Eduardo, Mister Ed, Eddie, McEd – did not come home from hospital. I’m a big believer in second chances – and even thirds. Ed had two double lung transplants in very quick succession. He was a warrior who had a deep love for Gob Bluth from the T.V show Arrested Development and the song ‘The Final Countdown’. He believed in coffee – in the best coffee – and he could cook gourmet dishes (usually with seafood) at the drop of a hat.
Did I mention that he was a boy wonder/genius/wizard? A real Young Einstein. So smart and witty and too damn clever. Too intelligent, evolved and beautiful to die.
And so I saluted Ed on Thursday after I learned of his death. I brewed a ristretto, put on ‘The Final Countdown’ and saluted my friend, who for a time, had not wanted a second transplant.
I am so glad he changed his mind with the help of one of my oldest and dearest friends. Ed did a tonne of amazing and bold things in the far too fleeting time after his second transplant. But by far the most important – the most sacred – was that he fell in love.
I spent Wednesday afternoon watching Arrested Development – laughing, crying, cursing and howling – as I thought back to when we walked the Bridge to Brisbane under the guise of ‘Team Ed’, just eight weeks after his third chance at life. Walking up the bridge, we decided that if and when we were to do this again, we would hire Segways, a la Gob Bluth.
Team Ed will be reassembled next year. There will be tears and there will be Segways and Nerf guns.
I know to expect the unexpected, but this? Ed’s death is like a switch blade to my heart and the hearts of so many others, because he went into hospital to get better – not to die.