It’s been 101 days since Ed Tarvin, my best friend since the ninth grade, died during emergency heart surgery in Fayetteville, Ark.
He felt something because he texted me about 2:30 a.m. to ask if I was up. I returned the text about 45 minutes later, and he responded within two minutes. It was another text, urging me, “don’t panic. being transported to wash regional hospital er. heart attack check think not. just being careful. will keep you informed.”
A couple more assured me that he wasn’t worried because the nurses didn’t seem worried. Later he said he was being admitted for test and that he’d call me after he saw a heart doctor. His oldest daughter called me around mid-day to tell me that he was having surgery. I completed errands and headed for Fayetteville.
Doctors went in to try to repair a distended aortic valve, but when they took Ed off bypass, the valve ruptured again. Daughter Amy called me to give me the news when I was about 30 miles from the hospitaL
I’d known him for two years before we became close while playing Babe Ruth league baseball at Little Oaks Ballpark in Mabelvale. So we had a 45-year run … but it still hurts.
We stayed in touch through moves to different states, marriages, divorces and children. With technology offering easy access, however, we had talked, texted and e-mailed even more in the past year. Because of that increased contact, the past three months have required an adjustment on my part.
Though it seems like such an experience should feel strange, I still hear him laugh when I do something goofy, or forget a name that I would have called and asked him about. Maybe it’s my mind making those adjustments, but those occasional laughs feel natural.
I’ll take them, anyway.