There are those folks who’s lives include so many challenges that you wonder how they have time to create a fulfilling relationship, raise children or help friends when their knees need fixing. David Sobba was one of those people. He faced more health issues over his lifetime, any one of which might have left a lesser person a victim or at least afraid of what’s next. Not David. He faced every medical crisis head on and still made time for friends, family, biking, skiing and yoga.
David died this week. As a distant friend I wasn’t aware that he was once again so close to death. Each time I checked-in with folks I would hear about another close call but that he was doing better. Maybe I started to believe this could go on forever. Here was a man who had been fighting cancer since I had met him five years ago. Prior to cancer, he had faced a number of other often life-threatening and altering types of challenges.
Our connection had been around cancer. There was a period where we were quite close. I think he’d call because as a doctor his training and mindset wasn’t quite as open to miracles and crazy, less than scientific approaches, to cancer and medical issues. My mindset is way more comfortable on the less scientific side, yet still not too woo-woo. So we connected and had cancer chats. I, of course, encouraged him to go to The Haven. He did. He also was willing to try many roads less traveled. All the while staying in his practice as an orthopedic surgeon.
He fixed my knee when it needed mending and helped me get back quickly to yoga, biking and running.
David was a hero. Maybe in some ways that made his cancer harder. I don’t believe it was easy for him to rest, stop, slow down and sometimes see himself as un-able to keep doing it all. I am not sure if he ever totally reconciled that piece for himself. I think he was proud that he could head up the mountain even after chemo. At some point I know he had to face that moment when the body buckles. I also know that wasn’t easy.
For all the stories of Lance Armstrong and his seven Tour de France victories, I thought David’s RATPOD (a major bike ride to rise money here in Montana for Make-a-Wish) was much more heroic and noteworthy. (Visit here for more on his amazing efforts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI0owVOrKyg)
I also believe in the end, he found some peace in a dear friend and the relationship they created. As well, he took the time to really connect with his kids and those that were close to him.
No, I never said good-bye. But I think that wasn’t the relationship we had. There are many there to say good-bye. Still, I wanted to find some way to say something. Though my heart aches, I think David truly was bone weary and spirit-filled. That was just how he lived. I believe he took pride in that, and many were served with his efforts. Rest now David, after a amazing fight and a heroic ride through life!