Two years ago my son started kindergarten at a new elementary school. His mom and I had recently divorced and our hearts hadn't begun to heal. It was a long weekend and I had a nagging stomach ache. The doctor could wait until Tuesday. When I finally arrived at the emergency room I was whisked away to have eight inches of my colon removed. I would return home seven days later with a colostomy bag, 20-some stitches and a second surgery date three months down the road.
While I was in the hospital, my surgeon told me that had I waited one more day I probably would have died. I was going septic. As I lay in my bed between morphine drips and infrequent visitors I thought about my own death. As a single parent, my life had a sense of urgency that I hadn't ever contemplated.
I realized my friends were few and far away and wasn't sure who would carry my casket if I were to die. I didn't know what I was supposed to do or who to turn to. My family was supportive but they lived halfway across the country. I had just lost half my community in the divorce and my best friends were no longer talking to me. I had scared them away. My only local friend it seemed was my therapist and I practically begged him to have a beer with me.
Recently divorced, colostomy bag on board; I engaged in a period of social aggression that frightened even me. I had to build a community for my son and myself stat! I needed strong men to compensate for my weaknesses and strong women to act as role models for my five year old. As a sales professional I was used to networking but that was for money not for friendship, and there was a script involved.
My scars were healing but I was alone and in despair. A friend from my son's pre-k invited me to a single parents group. The hope turner. I hesitated and declined. I couldn't meet people like that, but at least there was a chance. The next summer I went to Port Aransas, Texas with the group and my life began to change.
While I was in the hospital, a seed was planted. I wanted to create a group for men who were lost or alone or struggling. I imagined a place where we could meet to build friendships so no man would fear an empty funeral hall. Three years later here it is. Welcome to The Pallbearers Club, guys. I hope you'll join us.