The first was a dear friend and my personal physician. He'd been battling cancer for quite some time and although he outlived his original prognosis by 10 years- he quickly succumbed to his illness a couple weeks ago. He was a great man who was odd in his approach and unique in his perspective on life. He listened. He cared. He had a tremendous sense of humor. Most importantly- he made an impact on my life and he'll be missed.
The other loss was of an acquaintance of mine from years ago. He was actually a friend of a friend. To be frank- I found him annoying and he got on my nerves like fingernails on a chalk-board. We spent a week at the beach together back in college and had it not been for "Don" I think it could have been one of the greatest weeks of my life. But instead- it was mediocre at best. This is not to slam "Don" but rather to lay the cards on the table. Two different people. Two different impacts on my life. Ironically and sadly both died from long battles with cancer.
Neither deserved to die. They were both still relatively young in today's world. Both had families. Both were loved dearly. Both were good people- just one was a treat and the other was, well, a pain in my ass. And- learning of their death(s)- both enacted the same reaction from me. Shock. Bewilderment. Anger. Sadness. I can understand why "Doctor K's" death got to me. But "Don"- I don't know why. It's been 25 years since I saw him last and I couldn't tell you when the last time was that I'd even thought of him. Heck- I'm kinda sure he thought the same of me (not much!)...
But I do know I was sad to hear of his passing... and sad to see yet another chapter of my life turn into yet another distant memory.
When I was young I thought by this point in my life there would be a cure for cancer. If you think about all the different chemicals, biologicals, weapons of mass destruction and other ways that we've been able to "invent" over the last fifty years to destroy those around us- surely we'd have found a way to cure something like cancer. But we haven't. The human race has found it easier to kill than to save. Someday- if our species lasts longs enough we'll- look back at the first several thousand years of civilization with disgust.
In the meantime, I'm going to look back at two different people and actually miss them both...knowing that neither deserved to die from cancer and that both impacted me whether I realized it or not.