A ‘Road to Damascus’ Moment: My Friend’s Mini-stroke Pushed Me To Plan Ahead

Doug Harris
4 min readMar 7, 2021

Few things are scarier than experiencing, even remotely, a friend having a stroke — or, in this instance, a mini-stroke. (They differ only by degree, but either is, as my friend put it, “a road to Damascus” moment. Aside: Of all the places one might imagine visiting now, Syria’s capital would not rank high among them!)

And that feeling — the ‘road to Damascus’ moment — can occur to (even virtual) observers, too. My friend is rounding out his 78th year this week. I’ll do the same in January.

“I felt like I had all the time in the world coming into 2020,” he said. He now realizes he doesn’t, and he needs to tend to whatever he needs to tend to, to leave few if any loose ends when the end, inevitably, comes. Me, too.

Procrastinate No More

I’ve been ‘planning’, for a couple of years, to write a list of contacts for my wife — with whom, for all intents and purposes, I am alone in the world — of people I wish to be made aware that my sands of time ran out. My friend’s experience has inspired me to jump on that project today — to not wait even one more sunset to swing into gear and get that list done. Or started, anyway.

It will, sadly, be a short one: I’ve moved so much — I’m in my 35th or 36th home — that I’ve collected few real or long-term friends. My oldest friends are a couple I’ve known the longest, since the 1970’s, when I lived in England. Now, I haven’t seen them for perhaps 20 years and, realistically, it’s unlikely I’ll ever see them again.

Still, I consider them to be dear friends — people I know I could count on to by truly sympathetic, if, say, in a car crash my wife was killed. Terrible example, I know, but you get my point.

Friends Span The Globe

There are the odd Facebook and internet friends, some better or closer than others, stretching from Europe to the Pacific. There are a few (but only a few) family members. (We’ve never been a particularly close clan, and time and distance have accentuated that.)

I’ll put a bunch of these people on my list. Not a huge bunch, but a bunch.

I’ll add my personal doctor, who I’d miss very much, if I were in a position to miss anyone. I’ll add my dialysis tenders, though they’ll probably be on top of things pretty quickly, because if I miss dialysis more than…

Doug Harris

50+ years a writer, 80+ unique bylines. Two blogs have reached 60+ countries.