Ted Simon was a very dear friend of ours. He died yesterday, in Emory Hospital, in the early hours of the morning, and we’ve been heavy-hearted since hearing the news. It’s not that we didn’t know that he was at risk, in fact he had suffered for months and months from first one thing and then another after the bone marrow transplant he’d courageously elected to undergo when he learned that he had MDS (mds-foundation.org).
Ted Simon was a fine human being. I’ve met many men in my 67 years of life and I will tell you that I’ve rarely met any as kind, and gentle, thoughtful, and artistically sensitive as Ted. His hospitality was something we and other close friends looked forward to and enjoyed. And it wasn’t limited to people. Birds of many kinds frequented his bird feeders, and even in his weakened state Ted was able to keep them nourished and take joy and maybe even pride in the sight of them outside their kitchen window.
It’s impossible to think of Ted without thinking of Cheryl. His love for her was immense. He loved his life with Cheryl, and he loved and was proud of their family- sons, daughters-in-law, and his treasured grandchildren – each one of them as individuals and all of them together as a clan. He didn’t want to leave them; he wanted to live, and so he made up his mind that he would endure whatever it would take, and it often took unimaginable fortitude but Cheryl told us he never complained, and Ted told us, often, how deeply he appreciated Cheryl’s enduring devotion to his care. He knew he couldn’t have lived that long without her, and in the end, illness took him anyway, which only adds to the sadness for those of us who love them.
It’s a sunny day in the 70’s here on St. Simons. This morning I went to the local garden center to pick up flowers for the large pots in our yard, but I didn’t buy a thing; simply didn’t have the energy. Too sad. Preoccupied with memories of Ted’s joy in planning some of the landscaping after he and Cheryl bought their current house. Preoccupied with memories of our last visit with them in that house a few weeks ago; of squeezing his hand while we passed each other in the kitchen and the tears that welled up in his eyes and mine; of the four of us sitting together after supper talking about the hard stuff; of pulling away from their house knowing that we might never see him again; of the texts and phone calls with Cheryl and our mutual friends over the last weeks.
To everything there is a season, I thought, as I meandered between rows and rows of vibrant colors and greenery at the garden center this morning, and today, in this garden center filled with Spring flowers, mine is a season of mourning. It was time to head home. Fishing through my purse for car keys as I turned to approach the car, my eyes caught site of a magnificent old oak tree nearby and on it, just above eye level, was an awesome carving of a face – one of the Tree Spirits of St. Simons. Tears flowing down his cheeks, this one looked like he was crying.
Goodbye, Ted. We’ll miss you. ‘Miss you already.