Pat and I said goodbye to David Moore yesterday. Somehow we sensed the urgency of the situation, and stood at his bedside in Grand Rapids, hoping he was hearing our final words of love. David died this morning.
Pat Shellenbarger, former writer for the Grand Rapids Press, had introduced me to David Moore, and the three of us became best of friends who would get together for lunch, laugh and cry, and do our best to ignore the fact that this treasured trio wouldn't remain a threesome forever.
David Moore, 69, had an incredible list of accomplishments for his God and his fellow man. His long journey took him to inner-city Chicago, where he counseled gang members and drug addicts, and through countless displaced-persons camps in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where he fed, housed and comforted the sick and impoverished. In his humble way he would admit that his journey to help those less fortunate took him to some 90 countries of the world.
But his life took a bad turn when he made a mistake in 1993, and he wound up in the Michigan prison system with a 10-22 year sentence.
It was in prison that his health turned bad, and prison officials turned a deaf ear to his complaints of rectal bleeding. One guard told him: "Why don't you die. You're just costing us money, and we don't need your kind out there."
By the time he received medical care, it was discovered that cancer was consuming his body and couldn't be stopped. He received a medical parole in 2007, with doctors predicting that he would die within six months.
He had no kind words for Michigan Prison medical care. Speaking of the MDOC's Duane Waters Hospital, he said: "I've been in refugee camps in Africa and Asia. I've never seen disgusting, degrading conditions like at Duane Waters."
He defied the predictions of an early death, however, and continued his crusade for better prison medical care and restorative justice, forming his own organization called Restore Hope. And he constantly supported and applauded the efforts of Humanity for Prisoners. "I know my days are numbered," he told Pat, "and I know there are things I want to do and accomplish, and I'm doing it!"
The cancer, however, refused to let up.
A memorial service is scheduled for 11 AM on Saturday, December 19, at his home church: Plymouth Congregational, in Grand Rapids.
God had a purpose for David Moore.
The two of them are talking about it right now.