This is my friend Lorenzo Paige, aka “Putt”. He and I went to Scott Montgomery Elementary School, Shaw Junior High School and Dunbar Senior High School together back in the 1980s and 1990s, all in the Shaw neighborhood of NW DC. When we were all growing up together around the way, Putt was the boy who stuck up for me when the other kids teased me for being short, skinny and “nerdy”. He claimed me as “Lil’ Sis”. He always looked out for me. I can remember how he’d always have a hug and a kind word and bright smile on his face. He was one of the smartest kids in school and easy going. He was everybody’s friend. We were in marching band together and even took a class together in high school. When my class had our 10 year reunion in 2001, Putt was the photographer for our event. This picture is how Putt showed up for his 20th High School reunion last year. Everybody thought it was HILARIOUS! He came in loud, partying hard and got everything started. Bright and happy…the life of the party as usual.
Nobody knew he had been recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer until he told us all via Facebook. He went on to document his illness and treatment through Facebook notes to all of us that knew and loved him. He recounted everything his doctors said, how the meds made him feel and even the complications and the fact that the cancer had metastasized. While we prayed for him, he prayed for us. Putt wrote this in a note on March 16 after a particularly grueling chemo session:
Thank you all again for your prayers and words of inspiration. I really do appreciate them. I pray for you all also and the problems that you are going through because we all have some type of problem.
Putt died this morning. I’m am crying over the loss of my friend right now. I’m crying hard. One of the brightest lights of my childhood went out today and it hurts so much more than I thought it would. I’m so sad, but I’m so glad I got to party with him that last time at his class reunion. I’m glad that I got to know him in my lifetime. I consider it an honor. He was one of the smartest and caring people I’ve known in my life. I’m going to miss him. Condolences to his entire family and to the neighborhood and school family as well. Godspeed to his spirit as he leaves behind the pain and enters into everlasting spiritual peace.