The Reality Check

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story of how a kind man died of cancer and how his death enhanced some ideas about life and destiny.

Submitted: February 26, 2011

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Submitted: February 26, 2011

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Winston Carlyle
The Reality Check
Seven years ago, George Prucha’s doctor gave him six months to live. George was given many doomsday dates for himself, but even though he outlasted most, it shows that even a positive attitude can’t protect you from cancer. George Prucha was my father’s best friend and since my father was an only child, my brothers and I considered George our uncle. George was a good man, and although I felt that life and destiny screwed him, you would have never heard George himself say that.
Brain cancer was just about to defeat George, but with sufficient Chemo treatments and patience he just about came out on top and won. Doctors said it was his destiny to beat this cancer. Destiny, however, is a fickle bitch. George went in for a screening and the doctors said he was the luckiest man they had ever encountered when it came to cancer and that all of his cancer seemed to go into complete remission. Now, I am not sure whether the doctors spoke to soon, or perhaps The Angel of Death wasn’t too pleased with this news and decided it was George’s time to go, but one thing is for sure, it was not his destiny to beat cancer. Four months after his last screening George told my father that his breathing was abnormal and cold sweats became a daily ordeal. George decided to visit the doctors and get a final screening. Turns out, it was his destiny to die.
George had cancer everywhere: his kidneys, liver, and lungs.  His lungs were now filling up with fluid and the doctors were now no longer optimistic with his life and only gave him a few weeks to live. One thing that always stuck with me during the duration of his suffering is that George never did complain about the pain, or complain about how he got screwed over in life by dying at the age of 58. The only time he did admit he was going to die was the on the last day me and my father visited him. 
It was a warm and welcoming spring day in May. The kind of welcoming spring day that reminds you summer is near and cold weather is over. May 14th, 2005 was the last time me and my father got to see George breathing. We walked into his house, where we were greeted by his wife Deb and the pastor of the Catholic Church who was administering prayers for George. We walked to his bedroom where George was laying almost motionless. He looked up at Dad and me and gave us both a welcoming nod. Deb walked over to him and took a sponge and dampened his mouth. 
With his mouth now dampened he said, “I would like to talk to Gregg and Wade alone, please.” 
Deb lifted herself off the bed and left the room saying, “I’ll make you guys some coffee.”
George glanced at us with his sunken eyes and then looked at the two chairs next to his bed and said, “Please sit.”
Now that we knew George’s fate, we didn’t ask him stupid questions involving how he was doing, but all my dad could muster up was, “George,” and he started crying.
I just sat there with no emotion, because I was looking at him in disbelief about why he was dying and why it was his time. George finally grabbed my father’s arm and said, “Gregg, this is it my friend. I’m done for.”
My father in tears and disbelief as well, “No George, things will turn around.”
“Ah, quit bullshitting yourself on my account.” George said quietly with tears in his eyes. Then he looked up at the ceiling and said, “I never was very religious, but thank God for Morphine.” Then realizing that his path in life ended at this very bed, his tone of voice changed and he looked at my father right in the eyes and said, “Gregg, I declared you Godfather of Kimmie. Promise me you’ll look after her once I’m gone.”
My father now accepting George’s inevitable fate said with tears in his eyes, “George I will do my very best making sure she’s on the right path and doing just fine.”
George looked over at my father with a grin and said, “Thanks Gregg, you’re the best friend I ever had. I hope that if there is a Heaven that we meet up there.” Then George’s grin turned into a wide smile and he said, “But you probably won’t get accepted into there you rotten old agnostic bastard.” Then we all laughed even though we were all hurting inside.
We shared emotions, talked about cars, women, and laughed about stories my father and George shared together. After about an hour into the visit though, George began to cough uncontrollably and my dad and I decided we had worn out our welcome and left George in peace for his final moments. Around six at night that evening Dad received a call from Deb that George’s lungs couldn’t take the fluid and the cancer finally got the best of him. That night all of us brothers got together at my father’s house and we all sat at the kitchen table with Cokes in our hands in complete silence.
It has been over five years now that George has passed on. With a man like George though, it is hard to forget him. I have yet to meet a person who is empathetic, caring, not selfish, and strong willed as he was. There is only one person who has impacted my life majorly and that person was George Prucha. Receiving front row tickets to George’s death bed and getting to see how he got easily screwed out of at least fifteen years of life, put my life into a better perspective. My friends and I often joke about suicide, but when you realize the cruelties and hardships of life sometimes suicide seems like a reasonable alternative. Bottom line, life is not fair. Destiny does not exist, because destiny is what YOU make it, and assholes will live forever while the truly good will inevitably die young. That’s reality.


© Copyright 2019 Winston Carlyle. All rights reserved.

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