He has since moved from the shelter to an apartment, where he lives on a small pension. Two surgeries stopped the cancer before it could spread, and medication and therapy are helping him deal with Parkinson’s. Still, on a bad day there are very few things that he can do for himself. Taking him to doctor appointments and shopping has been a learning experience for me. Regardless of what we’re doing or how arduous it is for him, he has a secret agenda: never leave anyone without a smile. And he always succeeds. He learns everyone’s name, includes it in his cheery goodbye, and remembers it next time. He finds opportunities to build people up and is generous with compliments. He tells corny jokes. He pokes fun at himself. Whatever it takes.
A lot of people, if they were in his position, would blame God or become bitter, but not my friend. “That’s no way to live—and I’ve still got a lot of living to do,” he has told me.
Happiness is what we make it.