A Phone Call, To A Letter... To A Life Changing Friendship
--by chicakgk, posted Jun 5, 2010
My first full time job after high school was selling vacation packages via telephone for a well known company. One day, the dialer connected me to a man that answered the phone and sounded a bit out of breath. I started with my normal pitch, and expecting to hear the normal, "I don't want any," and be hung up on.
Instead he spoke in a faint, weak voice and began to tell me how he wished he could take a vacation like the one I was offering, but couldn't because he was dying of emphysema. He explained how he was on oxygen, and it took almost all his energy just to get to the phone to answer the call. I apologized, and my heart fell into my stomach. He asked me if I smoked, which I did, and then begged me to stop. He told me smoking is what was killing him, and how horrible it was. He told me to spend every day with my loved ones, and tell them all the time how much I love them. At this point, I was in tears, and couldn't control myself, and he could tell. We ended the call, and I put my phone on hold to prevent another call from comming in so I could collect myself.
After a few moments, I deceided to write down his name and address, and just send him a card telling him that I appreciated his advice and that I would pray for him and his family. Shortly after, I received a nice letter back from Frank, along with a picture of him and his wife. We continued to write back and forth over the next few months or so, and became very fond of each other. He was old enough to be my grandfather, and in many ways, I felt as if he was.
It was about a year later I received a letter from his wife, and when I started to read it, my eyes filled with tears. She told me how Frank's battle with the disease had finally come to an end, and he passed shortly before Christmas. She wanted to thank me for the letters I had written to Frank, and then explained how Frank touched many lives over the years. At his funeral, to show just that, they read the 1st letter I had written to Frank to show how he affected a 19 year old he had never even met.
I will never forget how much that meant to me.
It was wonderful of you to keep in touch with him and he and his family obviously appreciated that.
Congratulations for making a difference to a sick man chicakgk.
I hope you stopped smoking.
It warms me to think that, just before frank passed away, he made sure he did something for those who stayed behind: you. It's his legacy, now it's up to you to pass it on.