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T O P I C     R E V I E W
Member # 123
 - posted October 16, 2018 18:29
About a month ago I learned my best friend from art college had a recurrence of cancer. He first had it about 5 years ago, a form of melanoma that formed in his eye. He lost the eye, but all seemed well since then.

He, his wife, and his family of three kids came to visit us in July on the West Coast. It was so great to see him in person again after so long, and we picked up just where we left. We were kindred spirits, and had played and wrote music together. He was an amazing guy, a super talented artist, an incredible father, and so positive and encouraging and jovial. You could not help but become infected by his laugh.

But he was not well. A persistent pain in his side and exhaustion was bothering him. We all hoped it was the grueling drive across North America he just did, or else some kind of ulcer. When he returned home he had a variety of tests that revealed the melanoma had metastasized to his liver. It was an aggressive cancer, and the prognosis was not good, a few months to a year. The next few weeks indicated his time left would be more the former.

So a couple weeks ago I took a flight back east to see him one last time. He was really ill, and could barely climb stairs or maintain a conversation for more than 10 or 15 minutes without getting exhausted. It was devastating to see him like that and to know what was coming ahead. And to know that he would be leaving behind his wife and three young kids was so heartbreaking, so supremely sad, and so unfair of Life.

He had just learned the previous day that the doctors couldn’t do anything else for him, and he had returned home from a stay at the hospital to die. It must have been the most difficult thing to try to absorb. I don’t know how he held it together so well. But he did, he even comforted me. We shared three precious days together, talking, listening to music, remembering old adventures, enjoying each others company in silence, and through tears and laughter.

He was obsessed with doing his own funeral pamphlet, with pictures of him at all ages, and of his family, and I helped him with that, scanning old photos, and networking his computers and printer together so he could work from his bedside. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I must have broken down hundreds of times. But is was so great to know I was helping him, and to have this time together, even if the project we were working on was utterly heartbreaking.

Have you ever had to say goodbye to someone you love, knowing that you will never see them again? It was emotionally so brutal. But I will never forget the love and brotherhood we shared.

I returned home, and he died a few days later. I’m so glad I went back to spend time with him while he was still alive, and was able to help him and his family, and to say goodbye to such a wonderful friend.
Member # 780
 - posted October 17, 2018 01:25

Damn - I'm sorry to hear that...both for you, and your friend's family. (And well...for your friend - dying sucks!)

I'm also sorry to say that I know a little bit of what you refer to. I worked with this great guy for over a decade and stayed in touch for years after our employment situation went south. I kind of thought of him in some ways like an older relative (~30 years my senior), acting as a stand-in for other family that passed away years prior. So...it hurt like hell to one day call him, just to chat, and to pick his brain about something (non-technical!) and find out that he was diagnosed with late-stage cancer. He probably didn't have a ton of time at that point, and was figuring out as best he could how to sort things out with friends and family...and suggested that if things went well, perhaps we could catch up in person in a week or so. While that was a sad prospect, I still would have welcomed the opportunity to shoot the breeze once more. Alas, he died not long after, and if not for that chance call, I wouldn't have spoken to him. By now, it's been 3 years since he died, but I think about him every so often...and wish we could have talked more.

BTW, in hindsight, maybe I should have mentioned this place to him - he was a Mac Geek of epic proportions - he pretty much kept a museum of years of various models, and software that could open pretty much any sort of publishing/graphic file made in the last ~30 years. Honestly, he was more of a Mac geek than I am (I'm more into Unix, he's more 9-is-fine) - but he was also a smart guy and funny as hell.

Life sucks some times - but I guess you've got to appreciate what's going on right now - because that thing you put off might not always be an option down the road. (Like calling that friend you've been meaning to reach out to...)
Ugh, MightyClub
Member # 3112
 - posted October 17, 2018 15:27
I'm sorry to hear about both of your losses. I can only imagine [weep] . So far all of the loss in my life has been relatively unexpected. Having a clock on it sounds so much worse.
Member # 123
 - posted October 17, 2018 19:16
Dragonman: [Frown] Sorry for your loss.

Thanks Ugh. Yeah, having the clock on it was really, really hard, but also spurred me to action to go see him, where as a fuzzier diagnosis might not have.

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