Finding levity in turmoil defined my best friend Mike. The 6-foot-2, blond, "almost All-American" Air Force medic poured eight packets of sugar in his coffee in the mornings. On some of the noisiest, tension filled flights through war zones, Mike would watch silent movies on a portable video player. He'd be laughing while the fists of his friends were balled in tension.
During the worst moment of my life, my moment of despair, I asked Mike, "How do you handle it?" (The heavy responsibilities…the questions from soldiers asking if they were going to make it… the inability to save everyone….)
Mike told me he considered it an honor to take whatever pain he could away from someone. If Mike was with a soldier when he died, he said, that meant that soldier wasn't dying alone. Mike would tell the soldiers that one of two things was going to happen: 1) They would go home and see their parents, or 2) they would go home and see God. But either way, they were going home. Five weeks later, Mike was killed by an improvised explosive device.
Heaven Sent Desserts was named invoking the counsel Mike shared with his patients as they struggled for life.