Life between the lakes, part 32, special edition.
This picture was taken from the grassy bluff, at the bend down the road.
The ice that remains on Lake Superior looks like a giant, bobbing puzzle that no one on earth could ever put back together.
Looking down from the bluff, I can relate to the feeling of brokenness, as one of my closest friends is entering hospice care.
If Lake Superior was a heart, this would be mine right now.
Kevin Collard is one of the wittiest and most creative people I know. He has accepted his terminal diagnosis and is taking his life in stride. Just yesterday he posted:
“So the doctor says you have weeks to live, then Saturday they steal an hour of it? I can’t catch a break.”
Kevin has been like the Babylon Bee before it existed. His clean, adult friendly political humor has been his subtle trademark over the years. His mother used to say this about Kevin’s humor: “You’re not smart funny or cute.” The thing is, he loved and respected his mother and proved her wrong all the time.
I agree with her on only one point. He is NOT cute, not since like the 1976 or 77 Collard family album at least.
Kevin worked as a radio producer at WJR and other stations working with and producing shows for David Newman, Mitch Albom, Frank Beckman, Paul W. Smith, Ken Calvert, Foster Braun and many other classic WJR on air personalities as well as spending many years in Christian radio.
From my personal recent, “Best of Kevin
“Hospital observations: nothings better than a cold, fresh breeze on the backside of your hospital gown...”
“Hospital observations: it’s weird that the term "discharge" can have a positive meaning...”
“Punxsutawney Phil says move to Phoenix...”
Kevin will quickly dismiss any accolades given or implied about his success because in his eyes, all the glory belongs to God.
He has accepted that the end is near and does not want fanfare as he prepares to leave the world. He is standing up to the blow that fate has struck upon him and is loved and cherished by his family.
And still poked at by his friends.
Kevin admits he has always been a little chunky and that is the reason why he stopped wearing Speedos. This inoperable cancer is finally giving him the crash weight loss he has wanted for the last 20 years.
“Dang, bro, the timing for my massive weight loss is off.”
“I just gave my Speedos to Goodwill because they wouldn’t let me sell them on Ebay. Goodwill gave them back."
In his work he has seen some interesting parts of the world. He has met most of his Detroit sports heroes. And as a music enthusiast he has met or interviewed all of the “who’s who” of Christian bands and artists over the last 30 years.
During a rough patch of my life he took me to see Gordon Lightfoot at Meadowbrook and bought me a steak dinner along the way. Kevin is one of three people who have been successful at talking me down from the ledge when I needed it. His encouragement has always had a way of getting me going again.
With this recent diagnosis, Kevin never had a chance to put up what most people call “a courageous fight,” because by the time the cancer was discovered it was too advanced for a transplant or chemo.
As I write, I have my crack staff of illustrators working on what will be the ultimate caricature of him as the new face of courage.
I feel lost and it sucks. I don’t know what I am supposed to learn from this other than what I already know; which is that each day is a gift.
And it is a gift knowing that Kevin has been given the knowledge of God’s saving grace.
I’m not ready for this Kevin.
But because of you I will take more chances. I will make an effort to be a better person. I will tell beautiful women how I feel about them; and who knows? LOL
I will take better care of myself. (probably)
I will tell people I love them more than I do now. (that’s easy)
I will work harder and better on everything I attempt.
I will finish what I started; (eventually.)
I will not wear Speedos in public.
I will not wear Speedos at home.
I will not wear Speedos, or eat old Doritos
Because Chic-fil-et delivers through Door Dash, sorry I couldn’t keep the rhyme going Bro.
I will succeed at things I never thought possible and remember your encouragement.
I will try to be freaking brave.
I will not care what anyone thinks, within reason of course.
I will remember how you love sunsets and Stryper.
I will swing and I will miss.
I will reread many of the emails we’ve sent to each other and laugh my ass off when I scroll back on facebook over the last 10 years.
I will continue to treasure our friendship.
And I will carry the best part of it with me after you’re gone.
But one thing I can’t do right now is hold back the tears as I prepare to say goodbye.