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April 05, 2019

True Love More Than A Four-Letter Word


by jim richmond

I've no right perhaps to be sitting here, tonight, typing this, tears clouding my eyes.

The text message I'd be dreading for a year  arrived minutes ago.

One of my very best friend's wife had died, after a long fight with cancer, that even included their selling their suburban Kansas City home, moving into a rental, about 10 years ago, so they could afford experimental cancer treatment for her in Houston.

Surprisingly, gratefully, the treatment gave wife Leslie and her husband Jim --one of my earliest and  best friends from high school, university, navy and a  lifetime -- another  decade or more years together.

Both had, I believe, rare cancers, they questioned,  and successfully challenged conventional cancer protocols in some ways.

Then late last July, Jim called me.

Leslie's cancer was back, he said. They gave her about 30 days to live and had started hospice care.'Could I come for her service, expected at the end of August?,' he asked.

A very religious Jehovah Witness' couple, they kept their faith and their hope over all these years, medical travails.

Leslie lived against the odds and the doctors' one-month predictions, until last Wednesday. 7 months longer....

Supported by Jim, their grown children, their religious faith and commmunity members.

Leslie died a handful of days after they celebrated with their family their 50th years of marriage together.

I always thought Leslie was one of the loveliest woman I had ever seen, in our college days  and Jim was convinced of it. 

One day, drinking beer in a third-story brick apartment on 41st and Main Street in Kansas City; where he lived in some college terms and I was hanging out, he said to me: "Leslie is the only woman I will ever want, Jimmy, believe it!"

It proved true: They raised a wonderful family together. They had a wonderful, if medically challenging life together.

The memorial service will be in Kansas City May 1st.

"Will you be coming?," Jim asked in his text to me just now.

"If the sun comes up that morning," I replied

Love is more than a four letter word.  It was.  It still is for some people.

It was a lifetime for these special friends.


Photo One: Jim Donigan (left) next to me when our ships happened to be both in port, Subic Bay, Philippines, on the way to vietnam.

Image may contain: 4 people, including James McNamara Richmond, people smiling, people standing and baseball
Photo two: Leslie and Jim in College days.  Probably about 1966.  Third photo, shortly before Leslie found recurrence of cancer.
Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling
Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and suit

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