A few weeks ago I went to a local hospice to see my friend, Brian Coleman. He is only 40 or so and he unfortunately has extensive cancer throughout his body.

I’ve known him since about 1994 when he was first applying to the Flint Police Department. I was actually the person that did his background investigation. I’ve joked with him that it is partially my fault that we let him work there.

Brian has always been a very personable man and I’ve liked that about him. Even when he received his promotion to Sergeant he was still the same ole’ Brian. For those of you in Law Enforcement you know what I’m talking about. Some people get them a little bit of rank and bam!!! Dictatorship. They expect more out of you than they gave when they were in your same position. Not Brian. He was always fair and kind and fun to be around.

About a year or so now, he apparently found out that he had cancer. He went through a batch of chemo and radiation for a few months.

One day I saw him working at the Detective Bureau desk and I hadn’t seen him in a long time. Recently I’ve told myself, if I am curious about something, I was just going to ask. So with that in mind, I asked him why he was gone so long and if his weight loss was on purpose. He said that he had the Big “C” as he called it. We talked further about it and I was glad I didn’t shy away from him then or since.

During the middle of July 2011, he went to the hospital to have an operation to remove a bowel obstruction. From what I heard, once the doctors went in they found cancer all over his torso…including, his stomach, intestines, liver, etc.

They determined that there was nothing else that he could so they sent him home to a local Hopspice center. And that’s what brought me to see him on this day.

I actually went to the hospital in Ann Arbor, MI, about an hour from home to see him and found out he was transferred back to Flint. Oh well…it was a nice morning for a drive.

I expected the worst and even heard that he didn’t recognize anyone and was a bit out of sorts in his mind. To my surprise, he was alert and talking. I could tell he was very weak and looked quite thin as I expected. It was good to see him and I’m glad he recognized me. I wish there was a good chance he would pull through, but the prognosis is not good.

I hope he feels he has lived a good life. We all must face our mortality in due time. The key is do we face it standing with integrity or on our proverbial knees. I think he is standing.

Take care of each other,

Jeffrey Washington

P.S. On August 8th, 2011, Brian lost his great fight. He will be truly missed and many lives are better for having known him. There was a nice write up about him in the local paper. You can find the Flint Journal link here.

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