Monday, October 27, 2008

James Shibley: 3-26-69 to 10-27-08

I knew things weren't going all that great. James was weaker than I remembered, almost inaudible on the phone. Still, this was how things could go in the normal course of firing up a new immune system. The big danger was that something lethal would come along and attack him during this long dangerous stretch. We regret to inform you that this is exactly what happened. James was attacked by a fungus, and went back to OHSU where his prognosis was described to me as grim. I last saw him Friday. He was in terrible shape by then, yet whispered to me, "How's it going?" So his last words to me anyway were an attempt to be funny. This encapsulated the courage and toughness James has displayed throughout. The idea of him suffering like he was for very much longer was unbearable to me. We held out hope to the end for that miracle comeback, but it was not to be.

When he died this morning, I felt quite a bit of relief that his suffering was over. As the day wore on, the sadness welled up. I've lost a great friend here and the idea that the James Shibley Era is over in my life and in the lives of so many others, is just too harsh. He was a great person and very, very funny. I just hope it won't be long before the images of these last few days fade and we remember him in good health, full of life and humor: The irrepressible, irreplaceable James Shibley. ---Bill McDonald