I don’t know what it feels like to suddenly be deprived of a child, a sibling, a parent. A life partner.
When news broke in late May of Gord Downie’s terminal brain cancer diagnosis, hearts broke everywhere. A friend was unexpectedly being taken away too early. Our friend. Like for many, it deeply hurt. It’s precisely when the hornet stung me.
But then my mind began to wander. Maybe the stinger was a wakeup call. I began to think of my friend Bryan, who lost his father to a similar form of cancer just a few years ago. Bryan has been raising money for cancer research in various ways ever since. He does so to honour his dad.
My wife works with someone who lost her husband to the exact form of cancer that has overcome Downie. She no longer has a husband. Her two very young children no longer have a father. It was heartbreaking to watch what that family had to endure.
I am still a husband and a dad and a brother and a son. My parents are otherwise healthy, as are my siblings and children. Denise is healthy and as lovely as ever.
I have not suffered any direct loss.
For Bryan, Denise’s colleague … for Downie, I decided to do something I have never done before.
I decided to devote thirty days of writing and social media entries to raising awareness of Glioblastoma. It’s the form of brain cancer Downie and others have been afflicted with.
I’m healthy, and everyone around me is too. But that is unusual. A little super dangerous, perhaps.
And so, on August 9, 2016, I sit here in the back country of Thornbury, Ontario on holiday grateful for my plight but compassionately mindful of those mired with loss, pending or otherwise.
I am but one man holding his own 400 pound feather, but it really is the least I could do. At least until August 20.
Please consider donating to the:
Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research