One of the heartwarming–and frankly amazing–experiences L and I have had as we’ve traveled this road is the way friends have stepped up to support us in our journey. L is blessed to have an entire group of friends/buddies that date back to his elementary school days. Several of them still live close enough to visit often–weekly lunches, impromptu dinners, etc. But several live some distance away–far enough that a visit requires the expense of a flight and–since we cannot have people staying here right now–a hotel. And still they come. One special friend has called every single day since L was in the hospital and he has made the trip to visit now twice with plans for a third visit next month. When I drove him to his hotel tonight he indicated that he hopes to visit monthly for as long as this lasts. Amazing! But really not so much if you knew L. He inspires this kind of loyalty through the low-key way that he places the focus always on others rather than himself. If you ask him directly about how he’s doing–what he’s going through, etc. he will answer honestly and briefly and then turn the conversation back to you or other topics. I often think about how people use the phrase “after a long and courageous battle with…” — well, L is the poster child for that phrase. Through his refusal to allow his own anger and sadness and whatever else he has to be feeling color his relationships with others he has won for himself–and for me–this incredible safety net of support and caring that I know will continue to sustain me in the days after L is gone.