I’ve posted this on Instagram. I don’t think I’ve published it here. This picture is for me. It’s a Buddhist monk in deep prayer. Even though I am moving away from personal posts, this post is for me.
Do you remember a month or so ago when we went to New Orleans to say goodbye to a friend? I was determined to say goodbye rather than just attend yet another funeral.
My friend passed over last weekend. His body could fight no longer. Christopher Porsche West left the planet for the universe unknown.
There will be a memorial service, time and date yet to be decided. Chris knew about everybody in New Orleans. Mardi Gras Indians will come. Social and Benevolent Societies will come. Photographers will come. Most of The Bywater will come. Assorted friends and family will come. We will return.
I was with him when his final journey began. He posted, on Facebook, that he kept falling down. I said he better call the ENTs, which he did. When they arrived at his house, they had to break in because he couldn’t stand up.
They took him to the ER, who did some tests and immediately sent him to the hospital. He was moved between two hospitals..
Eventually his phone battery died and he needed a charger so I brought him one, during lockdown. A nurse came to a door and took it from me since no non patient was allowed inside.
His doctors found a tumor which nobody ever said was cancerous. It was removed, but the surgery caused encephalitis so he had a small shunt placed in the side of his head. He went home.
Eventually, this symptoms returned. Another tumor was found in the back of his brain. I guess, now it was thought to be cancer. It was removed, or as much as possible. He lapsed into a three month coma. When he eventually came out of it, he lost vision in one eye and had to learn to walk, talk and feed himself.
After about nine weeks in physical therapy he went home. His long term domestic partner, Tia, took care of him day and night and he continued to improve. He even took walks around his neighborhood, either on Tia’s arm or with a cane.
This continued until last November when he took rapid turn for the worse. He rapidly declined. He lost a lot of weight. He couldn’t leave the house. I think there was unspoken decision that he was going to hospice at home.
Some of our mutual friends said he was in pain. Some said that he wasn’t. I don’t know.
I made the decision go to New Orleans so we went. Tia knew, Chris didn’t. When Chris saw us his eyes lit up but he couldn’t stand up to greet us. That was okay. We stayed for a few hours until Chris got tired.
I knew then that I wasn’t going to see him again, but I’d come and done what I wanted and needed to do.
He’s gone now. Gone to a better place they say. How do they know? I’m having a terrible time dealing with this. I knew this guy for forty years, in California and in New Orleans. When we’d meet on the battlefield as Mardi Gras Indians call the street during cultural events, second lines and Indian things, he’d call us old wolves.
There’s none now. I left the city and he left the planet.
Rest in peace, old friend.
Leave a Reply