Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thankful for Kevin Foster

Today, I'm very thankful for the life of a friend of mine, Kevin Foster. Kevin died earlier this week and although I'll miss having him around during my hospital stays, I know that he was ready to go Home. Some of you may be thinking that this is a sad blog, but it is not. It is a blog of joy for what Kevin was and for what he did for me in my CF journey.

I met Kevin many many years ago when I was just a kid. He was probably around 30 or so when I met him and I just remember feeling so inspired by his zest for life. Now, let me also say this, Kevin LIVED and when I say lived, I mean it (I feel comfortable talking about this stuff because Kevin and I had talked to lengths about it). Kevin lived a life that would have killed off most "normal" men in their 20's. Kevin drank. Kevin partied. Kevin went to prison. Shoot, Kevin even smoked. This probably sounds crazy, but Kevin gave me A LOT of hope.

I remember thinking as a teenager, "If Kevin can live into his 30's and NOT take care of himself, imagine what I can do if I commit to treatments and exercise". Then when Kevin got into his 40's, it just gave me more motivation. He used to joke around a lot about "living on borrowed time" and that he "should have died decades ago". I know he just looked at it as playful banter with me, but what he didn't know was the confidence it gave me to take control of my life.

This is also a blog to remind all of you to take your health seriously and make wise choices. For various reasons, Kevin was denied a lung transplant, twice. Transplant boards don't look too highly on those with a reckless past and possible drug and alcohol addictions. Everybody knew that Kevin wasn't a good candidate and although he never said it out loud, so did he.

The last time Kevin and I spoke, no more than a couple of weeks ago, he was ready. He gave it the "old college try" (for 48 1/2 years) as he put it (when he was born they said he'd live till 5). He was ready to move on and was 100% comfortable in doing so. My last moments with Kevin were perfectly tender as we held hands and said a prayer. It wasn't an appropriate time to thank him for showing me that I could take CF head-on and that I learned so much from his accomplishments (and mistakes), but I told him I loved him as I left. I honestly thought that I would get the chance to see him again and tell him "thank you". I never did get that chance.

So here it goes Kevin. Thank you for being you. You were no angel, but you put a smile on my face every time I saw you. You were no saint, but you had one of the most loving hearts that I have ever been around. You were in no way a "model CFer", but in a strange way, you showed me how to be one. Most of all Kevin, you were a true friend to me and although I didn't say it before, I'm saying it now, THANK YOU. I love ya brother.