|John Northage, Jr.|
I logged onto my Facebook page this morning to see a post that confused me at first. It was a friend's Facebook page announcing his death. For a brief moment, I thought it must not be him. It must've been his father who died. But when I saw his son's link, announcing that John had died of a heart attack yesterday, I knew it was the worst possible news.
My daughter was 6 months old when I first went to John's wife for acupuncture. We bonded quickly, over our close age and beautiful baby girls born within weeks of each other. John, at that point, was more in the background. A teddy-bear of a man with a gentle way about him, he did the body work on patients, which I didn't need.
Over the past 17 years, both my husband and I had gone to John for treatment: my husband for occasional back pain, and me for extended cranial-sacral therapy after my concussion. John literally held my hand through the ups and downs of my recovery, always honest and supportive. The day he said "you're done" was a day I had despaired of ever seeing. But he was right, I was done with his treatments.
I could have never gotten through the frustrations of my recovery without him. I could never have made progress without his calm attention to my needs. I will be grateful to him for the rest of my life.
As I shared the sad news on Facebook, calling my husband and the friend who had originally referred me to John and Althea, I found myself unable to stop the tears.
The tears came from sadness first, but also from anger. He and his wife had plans that would be forever altered. It wasn't fair. It wasn't right.
The fact that this news came two days after finding out another friend is having heart surgery next week (and has, in fact, had 3 or 4 heart attacks already without realizing it) was a little too much to bear at first.
My husband is fond of saying "we're at that age". But really, what is the age when you should expect your friends to die? What is the age when it doesn't hurt as much?
So now we wait for information about a memorial service, and how the family would like John to be remembered.
For now I'll just remember John as a talented therapist with a big heart and a bigger smile who will be sorely missed.