At 1 pm today, I checked in on my buddy Doug by looking for the newest post on the Doug's Transplant Journey website. It said that if he survives he'd have to be on dialysis for the rest of his life, but that he was looking better than the day before although not much else had changed.
I took my lunch break by going with Mr. Darcy and the girls down to swim in the pool at our condo. We had a great time! Ladybug is really taking to swimming and even was looking like a freestyler out there. Angelfish even attempted some underwater swimming too, which is a big deal for her. an hour later, we were back in the condo and I started working again. Half an hour after that, I realized I hadnt' checked my cellphone for messages that might have come in during lunch. Sure enough there was one.
The second I heard Coach's voice, I knew it could not be good. I called her back and she told me. Doug passed away sometime between 1 pm and 1:20 pm. While I can believe it, I also can't believe it.
I remember the first day I met Doug. It was at the Lake Highland High School swimming pool. One of my 1st Team in Training.sessions. He told us his story of having leukemia and going into remission. He said his goal was to complete all 4 Team in Training events at least once because he wanted to give back. He later talked about being a counselor for newly diagnosed CML patients since he'd been through it before. It was inspiring to say the least. Every time after that I chatted more and more with Doug. He was a big guy with a big heart. He always had a smile on his face, and within moments of chatting with him you'd end up with a smile on your face too. He teased everyone and you loved him for it. He loved to cycle. I'm not sure how many century rides he's done, but he tried to convince me to do one. And that's a challenge I'm going to take up at some point in the not too distant future.
When he entered the hospital for the bone marrow transplant, we were all convinced it was going to work. This is Doug after all. The mountain of confidence, trust in God, and the most positive of outlooks. He had his Purple Army behind him, and all was going to be right in the world. Things started out seemingly miraculously, and the Graft versus Host Disease struck and things were not so right in the world. We've all been praying and hoping and checking in daily. Still believing that if anyone would be given a miracle, it would be Doug.
So today, when I heard the words fall from Coach's mouth, it was hard to believe it could be true.
Doug, you touched the lives of so many and you will be missed. I am glad you are at peace, but there's a whole lot of people who are wishing that you could have been here with us. But the Good Lord has called you home. We will be thinking of and praying for your family today and in the many days ahead.
Rest in Peace.