Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Goodbye Dr. Iron, Doug Hendrickson
I just got word that Doug died Saturday of ALS. When I last saw him, I think it was October. He was in a full wheel chair and drinking whiskey from a quart Mason jar with a big straw. His friends just kept it coming. He was a big guy, but I was amazed at how much he could hold. He was sweet and shared with me. We watched as a fountain he had designed was unveiled. He talked of his design; a head atop a long tall box. ALS was stealing his body and soon his very breath, but his mind was full of ideas. How sad that between the two of us we couldn’t at least share, he, my body and I, his brain. We spoke about the irony of it all in hushed tones as the crowd about us drew for Iron in the Hat. Only he and I, and now you, know of this moment. It stands out so clearly in my failing memory. But our diseases march to their own tune and Doug left. I only hope he had no pain at the end. I know, however, that he was aware of his plight. I am aware of mine, but remain hopeful that I will live to beat this illness. Other days I hold no such illusion and only hope to leave this world with some dignity and those I love with wonderful memories. I will not be able to gather in MO to celebrate his most excellent life. I will think of him when I am working at what may be my last trail build next week. I do not know if my hands will allow me to build hiking trail any longer, but I am going to try…because I am not dead yet.