I'm back in Albany. I made flight arrangements Friday morning when I heard his condition was critical, hoping I'd cancel them when he got the call that there was a bed available for him in the hospital in Boston where the transplant would take place. At that point, he wasn't strong enough for the surgery, but the plan was to get him to Boston, where they would get him healthy enough to endure the procedure, and then he'd be there when the donor organs became available.
So I was thrilled when I got word Friday afternoon that he was on his way. Yes, I knew he'd still have a long road ahead of him, but he'd be one step closer to the goal. Then I got a call Friday night from a friend who told me he'd gone into cardiac arrest on the highway and that I should wait before canceling my flight. My sister Lori called an hour later to say our Chuckie was gone.
I speak for everyone who knew him when I say our hearts are broken. Chuck was the greatest guy--a "man's man" into the New York Giants and other manly stuff, and funny as hell. I mean, look at him. Is that a guy you'd want to be friends with or what?
Chuck's been a friend for a long, long time. We moved into 8 Lincoln Ave. in 1968; Chuck lived across the street at 7 Lincoln Ave. My younger siblings don't remember a world without Chuck. He introduced me to my first husband, Chris--if it weren't for Chuck, there'd be no Christopher and Courtney. Or Connor or Hazel.
|Lori, me, and Chuck
In addition to so many friends who loved him, Chuck leaves his wife of 27 years, my dear friend Carmela, and their daughter, Jess. Lori, Chris, and I were at their house last night, and I thought about how every Sunday night I'm in town I'd sit myself in front of their TV to watch The Simpsons and Family Guy with Chuck. Not last night, though.
There are no words to describe the sadness we all feel. The wake is Thursday night and the funeral is Friday. I'm afraid the city of Albany will be flooded with tears. Our beloved Chuckie has left us.
If there's any bright side, I get to spend some time with this little one. I don't want to say something goofy like, "Life goes on," but it does. In time, the hole in my heart will again fill with happiness.
Love every minute, my friends.