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D L Johnson

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Dismantling Bob
By D L Johnson
Thursday, August 02, 2007

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Based on a freindship from a long time ago. dlj

Dismantling Bob
© 2007
Dan Johnson

Bobby Mercer was a friend of mine,
This goes back to 1978 or was it 1979.
He was tall, tanned and strong,  
His wife’s name was Judy Long
They had two little children, 
Nothing, absolutely nothing could go wrong,
until that fateful day…

The day that cancer began dismantling Bob.

Bob was 6’ 3” 254 pounds and except for the tumor behind
His left eye, he was full of life, one heck of a guy. We talked about many things; his life, his kids and his wife.
One day after treatment Bobby said to me, “What did I do
wrong?” I stuttered and stammered, as I often do and
could not say a word, anyway words that would matter.

“Don’t worry, doesn’t matter” he said, while smiling.

The preacher came by and was pleasant kind and full of hope,
poor guy didn’t realize, it wasn’t his life coming to the end of
the rope, but he did pray.

Three months later, in the early spring, word came to me that
the cancer spread…to the other eye.

His weight had dropped to 178; his height put him at a shattering 5’ 9” he was shrinking and there was nothing I could do.

I was a witness to the dismantling of a man, slowly slipping off to a better place.

Six months later a call to my office; “Better come now, Bob is asking for you.” What I saw on that day remains embossed in my memory and won’t go away.

There he laid on that hospital bed, hair gone wild, eyes of expectation, smile on his face, with the assurance, saying, don’t worry ‘bout me, I’ll be fine.
his voice all but gone could make gurgling sounds, no words. He motioned for me to help him sit up straight and as I lifted his body it struck me immediately as to how little there was left of my friend.

Lifting Bob was like shifting a 50 pound sack of feed. I held the glass, so he could sip water from the straw and asked him if he wanted more, he shook his head saying no.

Bob had two books on his table; a bible from the preacher and “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman. He pointed to Walt’s book. I read for a while, then I noticed a peaceful satisfied smile on his face.
The nurse said “He should sleep now” I left. 

The next day, another phone call; Bob died in the middle of the night

Rendered to a diminutive piece of humanity, I knew inside that it mattered not about his size and stature, just because cancer caused the dismantling of Bob, he would always be a bigger man that I could ever hope to be.
Dan Johnson
(c) 2007


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Reviewed by Elizabeth Russo 6/5/2010
A very moving and heartfelt piece. You've really brought your reader the deep emotion that took place on this journey with your friend. It is very affecting and sad. My condolences on your loss. ~Best, Elizabeth
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 9/19/2007
A very moving account, Dan. It is amazing how helpless one feels in such situations. Thank you. Love and peace to you,

Reviewed by Butch Howard 8/3/2007
I have witnessed the cruel effects of cancer on many people I have loved. My grandmother, aunts, uncles, close friends, coworkers, children and my own wife. I hate the feeling of helplessness -knowing there was nothing I could do except pray. This is deeply touching and I'm glad Bob found peace and suffers no longer. It hurts to think about his wife and children. It's difficult being a survivor. Thanks for this heartfelt write, Dan.
~Butch Howard
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 8/3/2007
Heartfelt offering....thanks for sharing Dan!!

Love Tinka
Reviewed by Randall Barfield 8/2/2007
Thanks for sharing this very touching piece. I too saw a big co-worker dismantled in the same way and, although we weren't friends, it was a profound experience for me. You just don't forget them.
Reviewed by Debby Rosenberg 8/2/2007
you were a good friend to Bob...I just read a book Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine written by Depak Choprapublished in 1990, ahead of its time, I believe..anyway was a random read, found on a book shelf at a house in Colorado was fascinating information about the mind and body connection, especially cancer patients
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 8/2/2007
Extremely moving and heartfelt story, Dan; very well done! BRAVO!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :)
Reviewed by Victor Buhagiar 8/2/2007
You will find your answer here:
Reviewed by Shirley Kirsten 8/2/2007
Nice writing.. very moving.. Shirley

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