The world lost a bright light on Saturday afternoon, and heaven is brighter now, with the passing of David Henson, an Angel with Shoes if there ever was one.
If you knew Dr. Henson, you have a story to tell, I’m sure, and probably more than one. He stepped into so many of our lives, as a friend, mentor, counselor, coach. He was Judy Henson’s best friend and devoted, hopelessly in love, husband of 26 + years; loving father to Kim, Stephanie, David and Chris.
He was my hero. For a portion of two years, while my own life was changing at a pace too rapid for me to handle, Dr. Henson was the one I turned to every week to be reassured, challenged, pushed and nurtured. As my counselor, he was able to look at me with those bright, blue, piercing eyes, and after hearing whatever I had to say, ask…”So, how’d that work for you?” His style of counseling for me was to dig to the core, deal, and move on. And after we moved on, our friendship grew.
Every day I now look at my husband, Art, I carry a piece of David with me. That’s because David and Judy introduced Art and me to each other, and were there with us through our courtship, engagement and marriage. They both know us in our pain and in our joy…and now we share Judy’s pain as she moves into this next step of her life, without the love of her life, David.
David had an effusive way of demonstrating his love for those he knew. He would hold your face and kiss you, and smile as he said, “how ARE you?” Admittedly, this was a bit alarming for my three sons, all taller than him, but they grew to endure his greeting…because they had no choice!
We had the privilege to celebrate David’s 75th birthday in February with family and friends…and despite his pain as a result of surgeries, chemo, you name it…he seemed so happy to be surrounded by people whose lives he had directly touched. He knew the next months would be a battle for him, but none of us realized what was in store.
On March 28th, he wrote:
Wanted you to know I’m scheduled for lung cancer surgery next Tuesday. The Thoracic doc will remove my lower left lung lobe, just like my grandfather, & I’ll be in the hospital for 7 to 10 days. I’m looking at about a 6 +/- week recovery & have to put my private practice on hold. I had a brain MRI & another chest x-ray last Monday & my ‘team’ of docs didn’t see any other cancer throughout my body.
Since 11/30/12, I’ve had about 4/5 CTs (various parts of my body), bladder cancer surgery, 6 chemo treatments (don’t have to go back for 3 months), 4/5 chest x-rays, PET scan of entire body, brain MRI, 2 teeth extractions & 2 posts (have 4 more extractions & 2 more posts on hold for now) & may have to have chemo-radiation post-surgery.
Having ‘dumped’ all of this on you all, I’m really doing rather well & have a good attitude. Judy continues to attend most doc appointments & all procedures; I call her ‘nurse Jane fuzzy wuzzy.’
I hope you all are doing well as we navigate “welcome to maturity” issues. I know some of you are &/or have had major health issues & would appreciate hearing from you. Love & hugs, Dave
Those are the last words I heard from David, because after April 5th, he never regained consciousness.
David walked among us all and touched us in ways we will cling to for the rest of our lives. Maybe we will recall his counsel, or his love, or his humor, or his kiss, or his Diet Coke, or his faith…maybe a combination of all of the above. Maybe you, like my husband and I, will ask, “What would David say?” And know exactly what that would be and take that course of action.
I stand here a better, stronger, healthier, more self-assured woman in large part because of the wisdom Dr. David Henson imparted to me in the time I knew him. I’m guessing, I’m not the only one.
David Henson, an Angel with Shoes on earth, now doesn’t need those shoes anymore.