For about 5 minutes every morning… my mind is this (provided I didn’t have a harrowing nightmare or sleepless night). Just blank. In that 5 minutes I convince myself that things are really beautiful and I don’t have a care in the world. Realization seeps in like water through cracks… slowly, quietly and damaging.
Thursday night, I went to say goodbye to an old friend. Diagnosed with cancer, but I’m not sure what kind, it seems to have taken him over… his body is failing and he’d been moved to a hospice where he can, as everyone puts it, “be comfortable”. I was afraid to go see him. I have a thing about final images. And I know last time I saw him, although emaciated… he was clad in tux and tails with his wife at his side at a masquerade ball. Still living to the fullest. But this time you could tell … the cancer had pretty much had it’s way with him. But his spirit was so strong. So strong I left the hospital feeling like… he’d be okay. He’d pull through. We walked into his room and he laid there looking very uncomfortable. But he carried on pleasant conversation with us. Was INCREDIBLY hospitable for someone in his condition. Had a brief talk with me that I’ll always have be my rememberance of him:
Charles: So, what have you been up to?
Me: You know… makin websites… planning for my wedding!
Me: I’m so excited… it’s going to be wonderful
Charles: I know it will be.
Charles: You have to forgive me for sounding like this… my throat is very dry
Me: Do you need us to get you some juice or ask the nurse to bring something in for you?
Charles: No… I just had something. Thank you though. You’re so sweet.
Me: Thank you. And you’ve always been so strong. I know you’re gonna pull right through this. Umma come back later this week to see you again. Is that alright?
Charles: Yes, I’d like that very much. You’ve always been so sweet. I love you.
Me: I love you, too.
I got the call this morning at 7:00 AM that he passed away last night. Surrounded by friends, family and frat who prayed with him and sang the hymn before he went to his eternal rest. I went into my mom and prayed with her… she held my hand tight and asked that God make “a little room” for my friend and sustain his family through this time of mourning.
I’m sure that God has more than just a little room for Charles. He was certainly here to do God’s work. A superb human being. His slogan in everything he did was “For the People”. And my image of his spirit will always be what lasts. Strong. Sincere. Unconquerable. I was honored and humbled to know him.
You will be missed Charles A. Pringle, Jr. Rest in Peace.