I found out today that a friend had died. I first met Allen when I was in pre-med trying to get the credits necessary to go med school. He was already in med school at East Carolina University at the Brody School of Medicine. We were AOL IM pals. All I knew about him was that he liked pipes, cigars and classical music. At the time, he knew I liked baseball caps and sent me one from ECU to add to my collection.
During that hard year of applying for medical school, and then sweating out the interviews and waiting for acceptance letters, he always encouraged me. He had no doubt that I would be going to medical school. He sent me a caduceus charm about a week or two before I got my letter of acceptance. I didn't wear it then for fear of jinxing myself. Now, it is one of my prized possessions, and I'm wearing it now as I have daily for the last 10 years.
He graduated in 1999 as I was just getting started. I knew he had met and married a wonderful person, Pamela. I didn't know until the obituary, that he has a daughter, Amelia. I knew he had a brain tumor, but that didn't stop him from completing his Family Medicine residency and doing the work he loved: taking care of patients.
We didn't write much to each other over the last 3 years. Just an email every six months or so. Mostly prompted by yet another move on my part. But, he always answered each one kindly, and sent me a heartfelt congratulations or word of encouragement.
Pamela called me today. She'd received the email about my upcoming move and new job. She knew Allen and I kept in touch and just wanted to let me know about his passing on July 4th.
Even though we hadn't spoken in years, I will miss my friend Allen W. Chan.
Suddenly, today, the sky is just a little bit darker and the world is just a little bit colder.