It's been a pretty tough week for us as Lorrie Adams, the wife of my good friend Randy Adams - the owner of the Creekside Bar and Grill here in Davenport - passed away on Monday evening due to what was diagnosed as Angiosarcoma, a not so common form of cancer. Lorrie had been in declining health over the past few months suffering a minor stroke about five months ago and being in and out of the hospital as they tried their best to find out what exactly was wrong with her. After an M.R.I. and then a subsequent upper G.I. showed a growth on her heart, a specialist from Loyola Medical Center in Chicago was brought in to Trinity Health Center's Rock Island campus to work on Lorrie on Monday. No one expected anything less than another miracle of modern medicine, but it turned out that the growth on her heart was a golf ball sized cancerous tumor. After the doctor cut that off her heart, he began to look in her lungs as she had been having trouble breathing as of late and it appeared that a blood clot had developed. When the doctor opened her lungs, he found they were ravaged with cancerous tumors. There wasn't much he could do other than try to make her comfortable for the final hours of her life. She passed away on Monday evening. She was 42. (Click here to read her obituary in the Quad City Times.)
This has been especially tough on Randy, as well as Lorrie's father, Randy Brekke, who does the ribs at Creekside Bar and Grill. And it's been tough on me, as well. Seeing my friends grieve the way they have this week has been very hard. No one was expecting this, although Lorrie had been battling health problems for years.
She was a Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma survivor about 8 years ago. She moved back to Iowa about five years ago and picked up a romance with Randy that began over 15 years ago. When they decided to get married, Lorrie asked me if I'd become an ordained minister through the Universal Life Church. I'm far from being a religious or spiritual person, but I thought enough of Lorrie and Randy to get my credentials and to perform the ceremony in the rose garden of Vandeveer Park in Davenport on September 18, 2010.
The Brekke/Adams link has been in place since Randy Adams and Randy Brekke met during an apprentice program at the Rock Island Arsenal 20 years ago. Many of those people in that class all became good and close friends, and even though I wasn't in the class, I became good friends with many of them, as well. When Lorrie came back to Iowa for a visit in the early 90's, Randy had just gone through a divorce and they sort of got together. Actually, their first date was a Billy Joel concert - they went to it with Cindy and I. I don't remember too much about the concert other than we all got drunker than hell on Leinenkugel Red that evening.
Lorrie eventually went back to California, Randy found a lady in Davenport and got married, then divorced about five years ago. When Lorrie decided to come back to Iowa to live, she found out that Randy was getting a divorce and they immediately hooked up for good. As Randy Brekke told me earlier this week, "They were just meant to be with one another."
After Randy got Creekside Bar and Grill back from his ex-wife, Lorrie immediately put her mark on the place. She changed the menu, changed the food purveyors, changed a lot of the staff and really whipped the place into shape. Her two sons, Stephen and Ryan, stepped in to work the grill and they came up with some interesting new menu items. Lorrie could be a little bull-headed and abrasive to some, but she was also a smart and determined person who knew what she wanted. Randy proudly called her a co-owner of the place, even after she went back to working as a unit secretary full-time at Trinity's Bettendorf location as the bar was beginning to burn her out.
Lorrie's memorial service is later today and it promises to be one filled with tears and laughter. Actually, Lorrie would be the kind of person who would be upset if people were crying over her demise. She had an infectious laugh and I'm going to miss that. In fact, I told both Randy's earlier this week that I really wished I would have had a recording of Lorrie's fast-paced cackling laugh. It immediately brought a smile to my face when I would hear it.
Randy and Lorrie were able to get away a few weeks ago to head down to Memphis and Tunica, MS for a few days. Randy said, "I'm glad we were able to do that. She'd wanted to do that for a long time. But I certainly didn't expect that to be our last trip together."
No one did. That's the precious thing about life. Lorrie will be missed by friends and family, but none more than Randy. And that's the toughest part for me seeing an old friend grieve the way he has. Time will eventually heal the hurt, but with Randy's love for Lorrie, it will take a long time.