Monday, May 9, 2011

when everything is connected

I've stumbled across the astonishing blog of Derek K. Miller, a tech writer from Canada who intimately chronicled his battle, and recent death, from stage 4 colorectal cancer. He was a mere 41.

I say astonishing because I find myself relating so closely to his insight, the way he adapts to his disease, his matter-of-fact logicality and humor. He was able to prepare for his own death, and even had a living wake- basically, one final chance to party it up. The last post on his blog was published posthumously a few weeks ago, a somber summation of his life and what its really like to die.
"I haven't gone to a better place, or a worse one. I haven't gone anyplace, because Derek doesn't exist anymore. As soon as my body stopped functioning, and the neurons in my brain ceased firing, I made a remarkable transformation: from a living organism to a corpse, like a flower or a mouse that didn't make it through a particularly frosty night. The evidence is clear that once I died, it was over."

I'm so grateful that Derek had the resolve to share his cancer with the world, with the infinite interwebs, with me.

It reminds me that this blog is important too, for just that reason.

So, some people are dying right now, and some are still fighting , but I am living. Really living, moving on, trying to forget the scarred past, the residual pain, the uncertain future. Filling my head with the scent of new summer rain on unexplored Brooklyn streets.

Image Hosting by

I can't forget it, but I can build on it. I will add new layers. I will stabilize my crumbling foundation like this old brick wall outside my window. Still standing, somehow.

I'm happy for every miserable second of my life.


Levi said...

Beautiful post and words. We're all dying. Some of us just get to do it sooner. I say "don't bury yourself every day" whether you have a dx or not.

A person is still dying.

My husband died of colon cancer at age 50. He was really angry about it. It's been 10 years now. The moment he died, his anger ceased. Talk about peace.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you are writing in your blog again. I wish you the best of luck in finding a new life on the east coast.

Miss Melanoma said...

My dad flat-lined during Interleukin treatment and was resuscitated. He lived every moment from the resuscitation to his final breaths with an amazing peace and acceptance about his cancer. He kept telling me, "There's no such thing as time." For someone who barely graduated high school, he became incredibly philosophical. It was a really beautiful thing to see. I tried to hold on to that during my own treatment, but couldn't quite grasp it. Now I'm closer to understanding.

Thank you for your beautiful post about dying and your reference to the blog. I appreciate every word you write.


Aunt B said...

Good to hear from you again. And Happy Birthday! Love you.

Dan said...

Good post.
Good luck!