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I met Ron many years ago.  After I left the navy, I returned home to find all my friends had moved away.  In the small Maine town I lived in, there wasn't much to do.  Ron worked as a waiter at a very nice cozy little restaurant downtown.  I went there 3 or 4 times a week just to get out of the house. After just a few weeks, Ron told me it was time to really get out at night, and go with him after work. 

I hated going out as I was not handsome or popular.  Ron on the other hand was a young, tall, handsome man with a great tan and warm smile. He was the type of guy I hated as everyone loved him.  I was afraid that around him, no one would know I existed.  I thought about it a few days and decided I had nothing to loose.  One Friday night I walked in and told him I was ready to give it a try!  Off we went!

That was the first of many nights out on the town together.  Ron made me feel good about myself even though we had little in common. I just enjoyed his sense of humor and friendship.  He was like a kid brother to me and I loved him very much.  I had some of the best times of my life with him. When AIDS came out and doctors knew how people got it, I talked Ron into being tested 3 times as he lived a wild life.  Each time he got a clean bill of health, and I was happy.  I often asked if he played it safe and he did most of the time.

After a few years past by, Ron did in fact get full blown AIDS.  I was so angry with him as he had a clean bill of health and knew how not to get AIDS.  Yet with all the facts, Ron still did the wrong things with his life and got a death sentence he could have avoided.  

I loved Ron so much, yet my love was not enough to stop him from bad habits that could have saved his life.  The last week of Ron's life was spent on Morphine to cut back on the pain.  I held his hand in mine as he took his last breath and wondered if it was worth it to him.  I sat in the chair staring at the wall as Ron's hand slowly became cold in mine and thought of what a loss this was to the world!  A young man that didn't have to die.  I prayed that never again would I have to sit back and watch a friend place there life in danger for no reason at all when they could have stopped it!  

I miss my dear friend so much and often wish that my love for him would have been enough to make him want to live a long life and take better care of himself.

After Ron passed away, I went on with living my life and making new friends. In [company] I have met some wonderful people that I love very much. In fact I love them like dear sisters.  A few of you are my dearest friends and many of you make up most of my friends.  All of you and the Star Gazers make up 80% of all my friends sense I have moved.  Yet, there is one among you that I love with my whole heart.  She is my dearest friend at this stage in my life.  I love her more than I'm able to express.  I envy her husband and children that get to live with her.  She is a wonderful lady that has enriched my life!  In the worst of times and the best, she has been a part of my life.  After many years, only she has been able to fill the void my beloved Ron left behind.

Just a few weeks ago my worst nightmare came true.  When I needed support to make it through the ACS part of conference, she was there.  We talked just before It started, then I went to my place.  As the program went on, I thought about how great it was to have so much support in [company] from all of my friends.  Next thing I know, Dianne Baldridge spoke a truth I had not thought about. 


My mind flashed back to Ron and how he could have changed his outcome. Then I thought about my [company] friend.  She was a smoker that had not yet quit.  She can change just one thing in her life that might be the one that saves her.  I don't know what I would do if I lost her to lung cancer or any of the many other things smoking causes.  I wish that my love for her was enough to make quitting worth it, but it's not.  She must do it on her own!  Her family and I can only sit back and watch her puff away.  She is hoping like Ron, did that it won't happen to her.  The fact is that it's going to happen to someone that smokes and why not her?  Ron made changes in his life only after he became sick and it was too late.  Must she also face death before quitting?  It scares me. 

Your [company] family is asking you to think about quitting this year. Dianne Baldridge spoke for all of us when she asked you to quit!  I can't think of any of you that smoke I wish cancer on.  Those of you that have touched my life in any way even if only by e-mail, I love you!  Please think about who loves you.  Star Gazers, my sky would never be so bright without you!  We sit and say little to you as we know what you would say to us.  Let me tell you it is painful to watch you take a chance that it won't be you. We love you! 

My dearest friend, and you know who you are;  I will do anything in the world for you!  Please think about quitting so that you never have to ask me to hold your hand as you slip away from us.

With love,  Hank

P.S.  Please sell the Gemini in September. 

This page last updated July 06, 2005