My friend Jean-Hugues discovered he had the same cancer I do at the same time in 2007, in Paris, France, where he lives. He and his wife Laurence found this blog, and together we made our way through treatment in part by sending messages back and forth online.
But he got better. His treatment worked. He was supposed to visit this past December but was trapped in Europe by snow. Yesterday he finally made it for his first visit to the Pacific coast, staying at the nearby Hilton. I am much weaker now, but strong enough for him to sit at my bedside while we talked (well, I rasped at least).
He has spent these glorious Vancouver spring days traversing the city, and he showed me photos. My wife and kids are pleased he could visit too, visions of future trips to Paris drifting through their imaginations.
Today my mother made Easter dinner for 19 (!) people. She and my dad live next door, so after Jean-Hugues and I spent an hour or so discussing his day, we managed to join the party, and of course he could stay much longer than I could. While his English is excellent, he enjoyed speaking French with my uncle and cousins too.
I can still hear laughing through the duplex wall. I'm amazed JH would take time and spend money to see me, or that everything could come together as it has.
But it is our last chance, because it's my last chance, my last Easter, my final spring.
His flight leaves tomorrow. My father will drive him to the airport. It was brief but well worthwhile.