Something about which I wondered today...

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Sad News

Terry won't be coming up to the cabin, after all. He died yesterday morning. Rest in peace, cousin.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I went to see Terry.
As I've mentioned earlier, my 51 year old cousin, Terry, the guy I used to spend a couple weeks a summer with, has cancer. About a month ago, I got word that the cancer would claim him in a year or so. He was going to start chemo to ward off what I guess they consider the inevitable, but he had an obstructed bowel, which shortened the life expectancy from one year to, well, one week.

His wife put out word to people to feel free to come visit. So I (and I'm pretty sure a million people he knew from the bar he and his wife run, people he helped in local fundraisers, people who appreciate his easy manner and enjoyable stories) stopped by their house. He wasn't giving up--"There's always hope," he said. But it didn't look promising.

Terry was hooked up to a machine that immediately pumped out any liquid he took in (because the bowel was not doing its job). His twin fifteen-year-old daughters hung out texting/watching tv/whatever on the other side of the living room, his wife filled in visitors onTerry's situation in the nearby kitchen.

And Terry and I talked. About anything and everything. We talked about his pain (he decided to be off his morphine so as to be alert), how relatively at peace he was with the situation ("What are you gonna do?"), we talked about his kids, we talked about my job as a teacher. And, yes, we reminisced about the summers we shared growing up--just hanging out in the village park, me listening to my older cousin spin some bullshit tale about the girls he knew; times I couldn't wait to relive each summer. Honestly, that's kind of what our visit was like, despite the tubes in Terry's nose, or the appearance of Terry's bones seemingly barely covered by his skin, it was me, and it was Terry, and all was right with the world. And when we talked about the tiny cabin on a quiet lake even further up north that my wife, Jodi, and I purchased last year (the sale went through, sadly, about the time Jodi's wonderful mom passed away unexpectedly)--one with pines, and loons, and eagles--Terry was hopeful he'd come up to see it this summer. I said that'd be great.

Now, a week later, his body is functioning a bit better (something his wife said the doctors had termed a "pure miracle"). Thankfully, the lower intestine is doing a little of what it's supposed to be doing, and the timeline for his passing has been pushed backed a while, until, in the absence of any more "pure miracles," the cancer comes to finish the job.

But maybe at least it bought us one more summer. Maybe Terry will make it up to our cabin. Instead of sitting on the village park merry-go-round of our summers as kids, maybe we'll sit around the campfire and he can spin some bullshit tale, only now it'll be about some fish he'll say he caught. And maybe, just maybe, there's another "pure miracle" out there, so we could have some summers after that.

There's always hope.