Saturday, November 3, 2012
Not the cheeriest of subjects I know, but it's on my mind.
Death sucks. Not necessarily for the dead person, I like to think they go to a better place, so they're good. But for those left behind...it sucks. In the last 6 months I've had two friends die - both in very different circumstances.
The first died after a long, difficult bout with Cancer. In the space of two years we saw this terrible disease slowly take him away, both literally and figuratively. It was horrible. He'd go through the chemo and radiation sometimes one or the other sometimes both and they'd say the treatment had gone well, he'd start to feel betterish - then, the damned thing came back only in a different place, so now another area was under attack. This happened a couple of times until all the doctors and specialists and anyone who had an opinion said "that's all...there's nothing more we can do".
At that point, you'd think there'd be a modicum of relief, after so much suffering, so many letdowns, he'd finally be at peace. But there wasn't. Although everyone knew it was coming, he wasn't ready to die, his wife and 16 year old daughter weren't ready for him to die, his parents and family weren't ready for him to die, and we - his friends weren't ready for him to die. He was 49. One of my best friends is now a widow. I can't wrap my head around that.
The second friend was an on-line friend via Second Life (SL). We never met in person, I never even knew his "real life" name until I read the obituary - and yet, we were very close, and he was one of my oldest SL friends. He died suddenly. A couple of weeks ago he disappeared, he didn't log on to SL, he didn't Plurk, he was just gone. Several from our online community tried to contact him via different means, but due to the nature of online communities in general, and SL in particular, those means were limited. Because he lived in Cape Cod, MA, when Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy threatened the area our concern grew. One person who knew his real name Googled him just to see what came up - and the first thing she saw was his obituary! He had died a few days before of what the obit describes as a "sudden illness". He was 68, we're assuming it was a heart attack.
The impact was staggering and reverberated through the community as everyone was stunned. I was a mess. If you've never been involved in an on-line only friendship or relationship it is probably impossible to understand how close and attached you can become to people you'll probably never meet in person. Someone likened it to pen-pal relationships of years gone by. I think that's a good comparison.
The very different deaths of two very different men were both very difficult for me to process. It brings up the question: What's easier for survivors - their loved one dying suddenly or having time to prepare for their deaths? Having experienced both so close together, I don't know the answer.
You are missed Victor and Trebor.