Last night before I went to sleep, I was on Facebook and read the most horrible news. My classmate from high school died the previous day from cancer. I was speechless. I lay there on my bed, phone in hand, completely and utterly without words. Without emotion. I think a lot of it had to do with reading a series of posts from him throughout the month of October how he was surviving the new findings of a tumor. He’d survived brain surgery this summer and he knew he had this licked, too. In fact, he made everyone feel very much at ease and confident this surgery would prove no different. He even posted the day he returned to work. It was a productive day, he reported. Then he posted a picture of his little boy sleeping on the bed and how happy he was to be his dad. For crying out loud, he even posted Tuesday. The day before he died. Everything was fine. What happened????? What happened in 24 hours? I wasn’t in his close circle, so I’m not sure what could’ve gone wrong and there’s no way to politely inquire. It was out of the blue. He was out of time. Why? Why did I feel as if someone had come into my bedroom and grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and forced me to sit on a chair and look around at my own mortality? People die every day. And quite honestly I hadn’t seen this guy in 20 years. I can only imagine it was striking me so tenderly for 2 reasons.
- Cancer is very real and very on the prowl. I find that sometimes I’m just waiting to get it. As though my number will come up soon. And how I’ll handle it. Where will mine strike exactly? Lungs…I don’t smoke, but neither did my grandfather who died a miserable death of lung cancer. Breast? I’m been checked yearly, but are the tests fool-proof? I certainly don’t want to be a worrier, and I’m not. It’s not like I truly sit around waiting, but it does enter my mind on occasion when I read about all the people suffering from it. Wondering how I’m eluding it. Is it because I occasionally eat broccoli? Don’t live next to power lines? Use deodorant without aluminum? Why exactly am I okay? Am I okay?
- This wasn’t news of a family member, or someone on the news I don’t personally know. This was someone my age…someone I went to school with…someone I knew with a child the same age as mine. And within a day of posting he was fine…he was gone. Completely and utterly gone. Weird. Scary.
I hate cancer.