After finally getting Joe’s estate cleaned up enough that mother could manage the rentals and eventual sale, I loaded up one final truck load and moved back to Martha’s Vineyard. There I had my own house that needed finishing work. I was also called to the cutting and splitting of over nine cords of firewood I gleaned the previous summer after Hurricane Bob whirled through and felled an enormous quantity of trees. Right after that, Lenny helped me to gather much of the wood. That was while he was recovering from surgery to remove his larynx and beginning treatment of cancer in his the throat. I looked forward to seeing him and other friends while I was settling back on the Vineyard.
I ran into Rick who shocked me with some disturbing news. Lenny was having a recurrence of his cancer. It spread to his lungs, other internal organs and likely his bones. His prognosis was not good. Lenny never had a home of his own, but was now ensconced in Jenny’s parent’s home. It had been left to Jenny and David and was not otherwise being used. It provided Lenny with a beautiful setting overlooking the lagoon where he could conduct his passing. It also made available ample space for him to receive visitors and well wishers. I rushed over. I was greeted by a crowd of friends. A meal was being prepared and despite the somber occasion a festive atmosphere was present. Lenny appeared gaunt but displayed his ever present beam and joyous spirit. He embraced and welcomed me.
Lenny’s many friends rotated providing his care. Except late at night, when usually a single person would stay with him, Lenny had a house full of people attending to him. He spent the past twenty years ministering to alcoholics and other unfortunates on the streets. Even though Lenny attended an established church his comforting of others was a personal calling. The brace of people attending to him mostly came from the throngs he touched while conducting his ministry. In a sense even though we were caring for him, there was still an impression of Lenny conducting his office.
The liveliness in the air likely sprung from Lenny’s decision to not take pain killers. Though he was probably feeling lots of pain, he preferred to be alert and stated he wanted to fully attend and be present for his sendoff. He managed his pain with warm baths, massage, and meditation. That kept the gleam in his eyes and provided an enduring example of accepting and playing the cards that were dealt you. Lenny was open to discussing his present situation and held nothing back about his feeling s and beliefs regarding the realm he was heading toward.
I believe that everybody in attendance was blessed to experience the events that transpired as the veil separating this world from the next got closer and thinner. There seemed to be the supernatural afoot.