He was a Vietnam Veteran who also suffered from the effects of Agent Orange and PTSD. He had read my book, and we had chatted about military things before. This night he was determined to sell me the van. I told him I'd be able to look at it Monday or Tuesday and we agreed to do that.
Recently he had told me that he and his daughter were buying a place together in an area called Joseph. He said how much he really loved that area and that was something we had in common. That area is one of the most awesome places ever.
He seemed much happier than I had seen him in the past. Though our lives didn't cross too frequently I knew from our chats that he often suffered with depression that goes along with PTSD in which I am familiar. So I was very happy for him and told him how happy I was that his daughter would be moving in with him. I realize that he and I were about the same age and I told him, "It's time we accept a little help." On his way out he turned and made a comment about his breathing problem. All he had to say was Agent Orange and those of us from that era understand.
I was looking forward to checking out the van and taking off on some of my own adventures. I saw his daughter at his house but the van was no where to be seen. Monday had come and gone, it was now Tuesday and I had not seen the van all weekend. I thought he had gone to his new place as they were in the process of moving.
Then, I got a message from another neighbor inquiring about the activity at his house. I still thought nothing of it because I knew his daughter was coming and they were moving. Then, a local news post came across my FB page. The details were brief but I knew it was him. They had found a man in the Imnaha area whose vehicle had slid off the road and he had tried walking out and died. He told me just days before how he had gone to another area near Pilcher Reservoir and his van had slid off the road and he was able to dig himself out because he had a shovel with him. I wondered even then how he had managed that with his lung problems. But he loved the outdoors.
From seeing him Friday, I knew there was no way he could walk very far. His death upset me very much. Partly because I knew how happy he was to find this new direction in his life and now he would not be able to live that life. But at the same time, I am thankful he was happy and looking forward to spending time with his daughter and live in the area he loved. His spouse had died the previous year, about the same time as my mother. That loss was another battle of grief he fought and won. It seemed now that his life was turning around, he had much to look forward to.