in remembrance

Last Tuesday afternoon a fellow workmate passed away from cancer. He was at home with his family at the time.

I’d only known the man since early 2021 when he started to appear at scheduled field tests for my project. I hadn’t know him at all until he arrived at the first field test. After that he was a regular participant. I won’t say we were the best of friends. We had an abrasive moment at one point in our work relationship, which quickly smoothed itself out.

Over time I came to realize he was undergoing treatments for cancer. I don’t know what kind; I never asked out of deference to his privacy and he never volunteered the information. I do remember his numerous operations and chemo-therapy sessions. I grew more invested in his outcomes, hoping that each session truly did remove all the cancer. Unfortunately it never did.

Then I heard of his last medical session earlier this year when he announced that the cancer had come back, spread everywhere, and was “stage four.” At that point there wasn’t anything anyone could do. He went in one last time for an operation to help relieve some of the pain. After that they sent him home for hospice care.

A week before he died I traveled to his home with the local lead of our engineering group to sit and visit. He was lucid, but physically thin and in bed the entire time we were visiting. He tired easily. We both stayed as long as we could, then left. It was an emotionally charged moment, and the last time either of us saw him alive.

He was brave in the face of death. He never complained, only spoke of his battle with cancer in a straight forward way to let us know. He was smart and had a strong work ethic. He worked as long as he could, insisting he be allowed to show up and help with our field tests, even during the early and middle phases of his battle with cancer. He was a great help in my project.

I chose to be quiet last week, not posting, partially out of respect to his memory, mostly because his death focused my attention on the vital lessons of living a positive and contributory life.

6 thoughts on “in remembrance

  1. My sincere condolences. I also lost a (far younger than me) colleague late last year due to cancer, and several fellow musicians over at Wikiloops where I’m one of the moderators. Never easy when you’ve met and liked them.

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  2. Always sad to lose someone you have connected with, regardless of how long you’ve known them. Glad you were able to visit one last time. I’ve missed that chance sometimes, for one reason or another, and it’s always disappointing when it’s then too late. We too often take for granted the few moments we have with each other.

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