|April 22, 1975 - July 21, 2011|
Doug Cecil and I went to Springfield High School together. That is to say... when we went. He was a talented and caring individual. It's both funny and sad that our friendship was separated for so many years and only reunited, not because of but, when we we had both been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Doug with Stage IV Small Cell Carcinoma and I with Stage IV Colon Cancer, Metastasized to my Liver.
In recent months Doug and I had both donated to each others "funds" where money went both to fulfill bucket list items and to pay the many medical and general bills which tend to accumulate when you have no job but still enjoy the extravagant things in life. Things like gas for your car, utilities, rent and even the exotic foods of the dollar menu. (I'm speaking mostly for myself on the dollar menu items. I am ultimately unsure if Doug was more of a dollar menu, value menu or, the penultimate of them all, a 99¢ value menu kind of guy.
"Dying is one of the few things
that can be done as easily lying down." - Woody Allen
During my early days of chemotherapy one of the drugs that really helped me deal with nausea and anxiety was Marinol. Eventually, however, I lost my COBRA Insurance due to a time-limit lapse and couldn't afford or find myself eligible for any other insurance. Marinol, for those unaware, is the THC portion of Marijuana - legal with a prescription from your doctor. With this option removed from my treatment plan, life (and my forthcoming death) appeared to be a more and more difficult process to face. Doug, always caring and being someone who could literally understand the pain I was going through was the first to step forward with some very special brownies. Brownies that contained similar properties, just in a less refined form. Not only did Doug bless me with these dessert pharmaceuticals but my wife, who has been pursuing disability for her severe depression and anxiety for some time, felt great relief from her anxiety when using these chocolate wonders in small and properly instructed doses.
Most of you who read this blog are aware that I am a Christian. Being a Christian and following as close as we can to the teachings, writings and life of Jesus the Christ means, for those who hold to a fairly literal translation of the Bible, that in order to be reunited with God in Heaven we must accept that Jesus Christ is also God, that He died for the sins of all men and women and that we must believe and accept that sacrifice in order to receive the salvation promised and given through grace by God. More simply put:
1. We sinned.
2. A punishment was required for that sin.
3. God lived a perfect life on this Earth as Jesus and then accepted our punishment of death so that we could be reunited with Him.
4. Jesus/God, however and whomever She/He chooses to reveal Her/Him-self as, is waiting in Heaven where God has prepared a place for us to be reunited in paradise.
5. All we have to do is accept this sacrifice of God, of Jesus' perfect life, for our sin as atonement for our sinful life and we can be saved and live with God forever in Heaven.
There are many who would say that because Doug did not accept this sacrifice made by Jesus, he cannot enter into Heaven and will, in fact, be in Hell. Well, I've mentioned on here quite a few lessons my Father (that's my "Earthly" Father - Ray... the guy who married my Mom and who she's put up with for somewhere 'round 40 years... not my "Heavenly" Father who we've been talking about... who came here as Jesus and lived a perfect life)... Anyway... I've mentioned here many lessons I've learned from my Dad. (Dad. That clears this up a little bit doesn't it.) Dad's taught me many things. Lessons that you won't find in the average Sunday School class, but, if you look closely at the teachings of God's word, would be hard to argue against from just about any angle.
As a pastor my Dad has been at the bed-side of many people as they closed out their lives and said their final good-byes. He's heard their testimony. He's heard what many would call their confessions. On more than one occasion my Dad has told me this,
"We all tend to believe that we know what's on someones heart as they cross over to the other side. But no one really knows except for the person crossing over and Jesus. You never know... I never know what final words a person says to God in the final moments. Who's to say that as someone breathes their last breath they don't confess their sins to God and accept His sacrifice for their sins? Who's to say, other than God, what was in the heart of the dying man or woman? I (my Dad) believe that many people make a confession of faith in their last moments and go home to be with God."
That's what I choose to believe about Doug Cecil. I'm not really sure how he'd feel about me saying that. I know that he and I have had many conversations about God. All of them have been calm, loving and insightful with both of us making many good points. Though I was always right. (Just kidding Doug.)
Anyway, I look forward, based on my belief, to seeing Doug in Heaven one day not too far away. Save a spot for me Doug. But no brownies. I think I'll be on a more natural high.
Doug Cecil left this earthly plane on July 21, 2011. It will never be the same here without him. No one can replace him.No one. He once did a one act play written by Aldo Valasco in high school where he and a friend are stopped at a stop-light in the middle of no where. Eventually Doug's character went "mad" and chased a strange gypsy woman, who came on from what seemed to be nowhere out and off-stage to what seemed, again, to be nowhere. I guess, if Doug isn't playing cards in Heaven with Voltaire or some other oddity... he's probably still chasing that gypsy girl.