I'll start first with the heart break. On June 16th 2010 my good friend James Mangrum lost his battle to a rare form of cancer. The cancer started as a lump in his leg about 5 years ago, sadly this stopped him from entering the army post high school. I wish that had been the worst it had done. Later on it moved into his lungs and last year I visited him again in the hospital at UCSF. He was bright and funny that day. He regaled me of the tail of having a reaction to the morphine they had given him yesterday. Apparently he thrashed about and punched out at the nurses and doctors. He hadn't remembered any of this and just before I got there he said nurses kept standing at the door calling into him to see how he was feeling. He was mystified as to why they would not come in until his mum informed him of his bad behavior the day before. Tut, tut not so much morphine next time! After that he was suppose to have one last surgery to finally get rid of it all. That was the last information I had of the cancer. I thought it was gone, that the doctors at UCSF had fixed it like they were supposed to.
Going to the hospital that day was really the first time in awhile I had seen James since leaving high school. We had just lost touch as people do but when I found out he was in the hospital I had to go see him. He reached out to me and suggested we get together. So we had lunch a couple of times that year. He always insisted on paying because he was such a gentleman. He told me about his family in Alabama and said he'd take me out there sometime, he thought I'd really like it with the open country and the horses. Up to the last time I saw him he still had that wise cracking sense of humor and silly grin. I had such a great time reconnecting with him as young adults and a good friendship grew. I thought seriously about traveling with him a bit because I knew we'd have a great time. He was kind, thoughtful, opinionated, stubborn, funny, and all around wonderful.
I left for England without a care in the world not knowing I was actually saying goodbye forever to one person. I never thought he'd really die and when I saw my friends update on their facebook yesterday (Monday) morning I just shook my head, said "no,no,no" and burst into tears. I was in such shock the first half of the day I felt nothing and would cry intermittently. As the hours slipped away and the information sunk in I felt sick inside and I knew what I felt was heart break. I didn't know I'd grown so close to him but I had. I think what brought me closer to him was one time after we had started hanging out again he thanked me and told me I'd been the one person who had really been there through it all. After that I strove to provide him with company and happiness which led to a deeper connection. I was so touched he felt that I'd been there for him and I was all too glad to be there. I wish I could take back what's happened, I wish I could have my friend back but I know that if the cancer couldn't be cured its better he isn't alive still fighting an uphill battle.
My heart is there in Cali with his family and friends. A big thank you to my father who will attend his memorial this Friday in my place.
The other better news is that I have decided to return to California in December just after my birthday to enjoy Christmas with my family and start school in January. I'll go to a community college for two years then transfer to a university. I'm still pretty bent on coming back to London as soon as I'm able but I'll deal with the Community College hurdle first then start thinking about American Uni's in London or a study abroad etc. Lots of possibilities and many more with a degree. I'm looking forward to advancing my skills and challenging myself. Well that is all for now.
lots of love