Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cancer sucks.

   That is the absolute nicest thing I could say about cancer. I have other thoughts that I won't share... I try to keep this blog  PG-13. I lost my hiking buddy, Kaye, on Sunday. Also over the weekend, my friend Carlo's father passed away. And my friend Kevin's condition is worsening.
   Though their physical bodies have left our world, I am trying to see all of the goodness they left behind. Trying to appreciate my good fortune in getting to know them and their families, rather than focusing on the grief and anger over these incredible souls who have been taken too soon.
   Kaye loved her family, especially her daughter, Kristi. She loved animals, especially her dog, Bella, and we've been on many hikes together as a pack. We've celebrated our dogs birthdays together. And her first time kayaking was in my boat last summer, with Bella along for the ride. Kaye wasn't particularly skilled--especially when it came to kayaking--but she had a joyful spirit and an enthusiastic determination to get out there and try new things. And I love that about her.
   I didn't know Asterio personally, but I've known his son, Carlo, for many years through work. I've enjoyed hearing stories about him and seeing photos posted on Facebook. Asterio was an artistically talented, warm man who was beloved by all who knew him. I think so highly of Carlo, and as they say, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, so I have to think that a lot of Carlo's best characteristics came from his father. They are a close family, so I can't begin to imagine how difficult this time must be for them.
   I learned about Kevin's pancreatic cancer on the same day that I learned that Kaye's melanoma was back, a scant two months ago. Kevin's health is quickly deteriorating. I've been told that he is peaceful and the hospital is keeping him as comfortable as possible. His kids are in town, and his wife Laura has been the picture of strength and caring. They are very lucky to have each other. The last time I saw Kevin, he looked very happy and healthy. He is a warm, funny man, gracious and kind, and loads of fun. He's an incredible storyteller. I'll never forget the games we played at Jen and Greg's house on July 4th, with Kevin doing a pantomime through Greg, controlling Greg's arms. It was so funny. The two performed was such reckless abandon, to the delight of the entire group. I can scarcely imagine that he will leave us shortly. I haven't come to grips with that yet.
   All of this is a good reminder that tomorrow is never promised; every tomorrow we receive is a gift. We need to take good care of ourselves, love our friends and family, make sure they know it, and by God, get out and have some fun while we can.
   I'm not much of a pray-er, but I am praying for peace for these three wonderful families.