We're waiting for our friend Tom to get his call; first of the week, he hadn't eaten in a week and had been refusing water for four days. It started in his colon, moved to his liver, spread to his lungs, then his brain. He's had chemo, radiation, surgery.
He himself has saved so many lives in his line of work that we didn't take his cancer seriously, even as each stage brought new, more ominous information. With all the good that he did for so many people, there's no way he wouldn't beat this. But science is science; there was no way to beat this and so he will die early. Our funny, tough Boy Scout has done his last good deed.
We first knew him when he was a leader in the Scout troop the Christ Child joined. The Christ had gotten his first batch of new merit badges and at the meeting the following week, Tom stopped this little kid of mine and said, hey! where are those new merit badges? The Boy said, well, you know, my mom has been real busy and just didn't have time....Tom cut him off at the socks and said, THOSE AREN'T YOUR MAMA'S MERIT BADGES AND THAT ISN'T YOUR MAMA'S UNIFORM! As the Christ Child put it at his Eagle Court of Honor four years later, "...that was the year I learned to sew." And that's a true story. It was the first of many adventures and encounters in Scouts, with Tom, that helped our youngest child understand that we are eachl responsibile for our own well-being. How could we know that this delicious, wonderful man would donate generously to our little boy's psyche and his spirit? We couldn't know, we didn't know and even when it was all done and that little boy had grown up and moved away to go to school, we were astounded at the kismet of Tom in our lives. How did that happen? How did we all get so lucky as to know and love Tom Deilke?
And so he goes early, leaving us behind to clean up. Fortunately, he taught us how so we know what to do. But it's lonely here today as the bright light of sunshine peeks through the dull, gray afternoon horizon; it's still.
The 'Kan EWA