Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dying in Spring

Steve came home with a heartbreaking story yesterday at lunch.

He got a call from an elderly woman in Cold Spring who needed some bushes moved. He couldn't understand what she wanted, but it sounded like a job that would be too small for him. Still, he said he'd come by and look at it since he had to be in Cold Spring on another job on Wednesday.

When he arrived at the small patio home, she came out and showed him five spyria bushes she wants moved. They are small enough to dig up with about two digs of the shovel, he said.  Then her husband came down, holding a pad and pen, and demonstrated that he doesn't speak. He has cancer of the esophagus. He finished showing Steve the job, and Steve said, "Well, I could do it, but I don't think I'm the right person for this job."

"No," they said, "you're the one."

He explained: "If I do it, it will take a half day, and I'll have to charge you my going rate and also pay my assistant. There is driving time to Central Landscaping. I'd have to charge you $250 or $300.

The husband began writing on his pad. "Let's say it's $300. I'll pay you $600 if you can do it on Saturday."

"Why?" asked Steve.

The man wrote: "I am dying."

"How long do you have to live?"

The man held up two fingers.

"Years?" Steve asked.

He shook his head. "Months," he mouthed.

Of course, Steve will be there on Saturday. And he will make them the best possible yard and garden to enjoy in this, their last spring together.


james f sullivan said...

had to make me cry huh?

Connie said...

My brother is also dying of cancer. His favorite thing in the world right now is the garden he and his wife spent years developing. He loves to listen to music and watch things grow.

Susan Sink said...

Connie, I am so sorry to hear about your brother. But also, to not yearn for a trip to Europe or something exotic "bucket list" pleasure, to enjoy music and the work of one's hands, seems so right to me.

Steve got the couple's plants moved and planted today, before the rain we're promised tomorrow. Even I feel more at peace knowing that...