FACING AN INESCAPABLE DEMISE By Barbara M Carrasquillo The last five years of my life have been a life-altering experience because of a male friend of mine,and the challenges he faced. Carlton Matthew Champion Jr., (a. k. a.) C.J., was born May 27, 1956 and passed from this life, on June 21, 2006. He only lived fifty years, but truly made the best of every day. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War, a Staff Sergeant, and received an Honorable Discharged. While in the service, of our country, C. J. was stationed in Germany and met his beloved wife Margo Brown. After their years of military life and many relocations, they moved into a double-wide trailer home,on 5-acres of land, and began their own roofing business. Fate brought us together. The friendship that occurred would be never-ending. The impression I received was one of: Strength, intelligence, joy and love. In the summer of 2001, I met C.J. and his wife Margo. He was a strong-willed man, who worked in the sun and had a deep dark tan. He was slender about 5’9” with a large head, protruding eye brows, deep-set eyes of ocean blue, a thick mustache, and black military style hair cut. When we went over for coffee and cake, we all sat at the round table, in the sunroom and talked about everything for hours. C.J., was always a joker! When we were told about his diagnosis, of Emphysema and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) compassion set in, because I had Asthma and I knew what he faced in his life. He worried about me. I worried about him! We became the Four Musketeers and traveled as much as possible in the following four years, to places such as: Galveston, TX.,Gatlinburg TN., Tunica MS., and Metropolis TN., and enjoyed ourselves greatly, especially the gambling. On our trips, oxygen canisters and all of his medications were imperative. My medications were the same. Since he had more Albuterol than I did he’d say, “I have got all the breathing medication we’ll need!” But, whenever C.J. got in a casino, ironically enough, energy would course through his veins, and no breathing treatments were necessary. However, when he exited the casino, he would gasp for air and call out for oxygen! This made us all bust out laughing. Now all we have left is his memory!