Monday, February 25, 2013

Saying Goodbye to a Friend of 30 Years

I took off from work early Tuesday afternoon to go with Brad and Lee over to Mike's house to spend some time with him and say our goodbyes. Mike is in the final stages of bone and lung cancer. It was nice to see him one last time but also as one would expect, very sad. He's lost so much weight and has become so small. Even his voice is tiny. The 3 chemotherapy treatments he received did nothing but hasten his failing health.We spent 25 minutes with him and he did well to stay alert but I could see that he was at times struggling to focus on our conversation.

I wanted to get a photo of us all but I didn't sense that it would be right. I think I'd prefer to remember the vibrant Mike Koch I've known for 30 years and not the one left beaten by cancer. He managed to get up out of his recliner as we were leaving and see us to the back door. It was a struggle for him but I wouldn't expect anything less from Mike.

The cancer was such a blindside to Mike and Lyn. He didn't get the diagnosis until around Christmas and I don't think he could've imagined then that his time would be so short. He will be missed by many.

I wrote the above yesterday afternoon and just received word before publishing this that Mike passed away last night at 11:10.

So sad. We will meet again, of that I am sure.

I got out for a fun, 34-mile ride last weekend, back down to the Minnesota River bottoms along the trails east of the Cedar Avenue bridge. I'd promised Tammy I wouldn't go back there because that was where I'd had my share of spills that we think led to my pulmonary embolus a little over a year ago but I wasn't venturing on the part of the trail where I'd had my troubles. Where I was going was quite tame, serene and beautiful. I really enjoyed being out there again as I maneuvered through 5" of freshly fallen snow.

I noticed an update on Facebook Friday night that Sam Llanas, formerly of the BoDeans would be playing at a small venue in Minneapolis in a few hours. I dismissed it because it was getting late and I was tired but I really wanted to go. I finally gave in to that unrelenting inner voice beckoning me, kissed Tammy goodbye and in an act of spontaneity rolled out of the driveway at 10:30. The show wasn't to begin until 11:00.

I got to Icehouse with the opening act underway and found a seat, center-stage not more than 15 feet back. How could that be I wondered. I would only have to wait 30 minutes for Sammy and his band to come out to our small smattering of applause. There couldn't have been more than 40 people in the audience and many of those appeared too busy talking to even notice the band.

The chatter continued around me as they played and I couldn't help but feel a little bad for Sam and his band. Didn't these people know who was up there performing I thought to myself. My disappointment grew even more as the crowd began to thin with people moving toward the exit an hour into the set. I figured it had to be the demographics of the crowd...middle-aged people past their bedtime. Whatever. I was enjoying the show. Here's a link to some video I took as well as my favorite song from the night.

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