In this life, we will all have trials. We will have things that bring us to our knees. That’s when you realize that while you’re down there, you are in the perfect position to pray to God above! I did just that last night myself.
A lot of times we get so wrapped up in our struggles that we forget there are those suffering far greater than us!
Greg and I have a long time friend, Charles, who passed away early yesterday morning around 3:40 a.m. We knew Charles had been struggling for quite some time, but we hoped he had more time on this earth. Toward the end, though, he just wanted his pain to end. This reminded me of when my mother-in-law was battling her terminal cancer and the way she felt toward the end as well.
Today I don’t want to focus on the overwhelming sadness that poured over me when I learned Charles passed away. Instead, I want to focus on the goodness that was all wrapped up in our Charles.
Close to 20 years ago, I came to discover a place called The Lifetime Lounge. The television network, Lifetime, ran it, and at that time, I was addicted to watching their channel. I ventured into their virtual world to check things out, and it ended up becoming one of my most favorite hang out spots online.
Daily I would scroll through the many posts on the Lifetime boards, and I would add my thoughts when people shared what they were going through. Along came Fogel (because in those days, no one would dare use their real names online!). It didn’t take me long to realize that although The Lifetime Lounge mainly consisted of women, there were a few men lurking as well. Fogel made me smile with his shenanigans. I would stare at my computer screen smiling like an idiot due to the things he would write. Back and forth we would go, and oh the laughter we shared.
Little did I realize at the time, another man lurked behind the scenes. It was none other than Greg! He went by many names in the virtual world we would play in; ShyKnight, Gregor and The Mad Lurker are in the forefront of my mind as I reminisce on those days. Fogel actually was friends with him in real life!
Back close to 20 years ago, I was going through a really hard time. I was a newly separated mother trying to do the best I could for my one-year-old daughter after my husband left us. I’ll be honest. Life was hard as a struggling single mother. But, along came two very funny and amusing men, Charles and Greg, to keep me smiling when I did not feel I could ever smile again. They would send me care packages at work with items for me and my daughter. I was taken by complete surprise when they first started doing this. They hardly knew me, and yet they showed such kindnesses and compassion toward me. And they never left my daughter out. Not a single time!
While Charles eventually faded off into the background at one point, Greg remained an ever faithful presence in my life. As I sit here with Charles and his family weighing so heavily on my mind, I am overcome with emotions as I realize Greg and I would not have the friendship we have today had it not been for Charles. He brought us together. Charles was a little more outspoken while Greg was the shy one. It is because of Charles that I came to know Greg, and I can say with complete honesty that Greg has proven to be the truest friend I have ever had in my life. Because of Charles, I have a friend of 20 years that I now consider part of my family. We’ve had him at our house on many occasions, and this year, my daughter and I had the pleasure of visiting Greg and his aunt in Illinois after all of these years.
When we visited, my heart longed to see Charles and his family. Yet, I knew in his condition, Charles would not allow me to visit. Greg expressed my care and concern to Charles on several occasions, and Greg asked once more before Charles passed away if I could visit him. I knew Charles would say no, but I had to ask any way, just one more time. Despite Charles not allowing me to visit, I sent my love, hugs, and prayers to him and his entire family. I asked Greg to relay a message to Charles days before he passed, and I have complete faith that Greg did just as I asked.
This entire situation has been so hard on Greg. He has lost a lifelong friend, yet he forces himself to go to work and act normal when inside his heart is breaking.
I have such love in my heart and a deep feeling of gratitude toward Charles. As I remember him, and all of the many conversations we had through the years, I will always thank him for the gift of introducing me to Greg. Charles gave me the greatest friend I’ve ever had in this life.