Friday, August 28, 2009

I Wish I Had a Gary

"I wish I had a Gary," my friends and family would say when I told them of another generous thing Gary had done for us. As the boss and foster father of my former boyfriend, Gary was everything! He would give us computers, take us on trips and shower us with his love and bountiful spirit.

Gary Douris is dying. He has bone cancer.

But here is the thing. I have not always appreciated him.
So, you can imagine as he dies I am flooded with feelings of guilt.
My mind says, "I should have baked those cookies I promised...I should have visited more...I shouldn't have complained...."

The other evening I went to visit Gary. I said good-bye and told him I loved him. Carefully, my hand rested on his bare shoulder. Being touched is painful - Gary doesn't even wear clothes because they hurt. My warm hand rested on his cool shoulder. I assumed that would be all the contact we would share. I was wrong.
Gary raised his weak, skinny, trembling arms up to hug me! HE wanted to hug ME! My head rested on his bare chest. His arms quivered and jerked as he hugged me, but never have I felt so loved! Even the other two men in the room said, "Awwwwwww...."
Just when I thought I couldn't feel loved more, Gary hugged me again. BE STILL MY HEART!
I am forgiven.

As long as I have known Gary, I don't believe he has ever asked me a direct personal question.
Never. Ever.
How could he truly know me? He does!
He knew I would love his crayon drawing from first grade. I DO! (His carefully printed name on the back is what you see.)
He knew I would love his favorite childhood book The Willamette Way.
He knew I would love to see the photos of the hummingbird he rescued.

I have a Gary!
I have a Gary...for now.


  1. Oh, the joy that can be found here and there inside a pained heart.

  2. As for me, I also wish I had a Gary. And I'm glad Gary has a Jenny.

  3. Awe Lenl this is the most touching story you have experienced. Thanks for sharing.Gary is blessed to have known you as well. xo

  4. Thanks, Nat! Gary died on Thursday, Sept. 3. We were able to be by his side when he left. He showed me tremendous love and my heart still floats in it!