In February of this year my friend and colleague Jeff McMahill was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The survival rate for his particular strain (Burkitts) is anywhere from a 30% – 91% depending on the level of risk. Jeff was diagnosed at Stage 3 but being an otherwise overly healthy male the doctors were confident he would be on the upper end of that range. I knew it would be a difficult recovery but have been completely optimistic he would survive this horrid disease. My heart was broken last week when doctors told him that treatment had not eradicated the cancer, it is now growing out of control, they are out of options, and it is time to call hospice.
Tuesday, October 25th my friend Jeff was told he had a month left.
In the week since that awful day his family has not left his side. Dozens of friends have been to see him, many who leave with a heart wrenching goodbye hug. But amidst the profound sadness has been the sound of laughter as we reminisce over a life well lived. Jeff does not want to spend these last days alone. He is surrounding himself with those who love him and rather than simply die, he’s living his last days to their fullest.
What’s important to Jeff right now should be important to us all. The stuff means nothing. What’s important is the relationships we build throughout our lives. The experiences we share together.
Jeff and his wife Annie went to New York last year for Game Four of the World Series. I remember Jeff telling me he wasn’t sure why they were spending so much money on a single baseball game, but he spent it because who knows when the Royals would be back in the World Series. The Royals lost the game they attended, but the next evening at a NYC bar full of Royals fans while everyone else poured their champagne into glasses, Jeff sprayed his bottle all over complete strangers.
That’s how Jeff is, and that’s how I’ll remember him. A man full of life, loved by all who had the privilege of calling him friend.
Bank accounts can be rebuilt. Broken relationships can be repaired. You can always get more “stuff.” Time is the only thing you can’t get back.
Cherish every moment – the clock is ticking for us all.
And it is a beautiful and precious day in God's world, be sure to see the good.