I can’t stop thinking about a dear friend’s ex-husband who died last year. I’m a little mystified by my preoccupation with it because I only met him a few times (he lived in New York City). I think it’s because those few times I was with him, I loved everything about him (no, I am not gay and I know it’s okay if I was). He was a drummer in a band and so he obviously loved music. But he was also so interested and passionate about so many different things – from the old Montreal Canadians forum (I live in Montreal fyi) – to the Portuguese language – to any kind of historical minutiae – you name it. And on the rare occasions I was with him, I enjoyed every second of his company.
He loved life full on and accordingly indulged in all of its dangerous pleasures too. He was an extremely heavy smoker, both cigarettes and pot, and was diagnosed with lung cancer at age 47. Although I witnessed none of it, apparently he was terrified of dying (and, of course, he had been handed a death sentence with his diagnosis) and went for long self-reflecting walks in the parks of Queens and Brooklyn wondering what he had done to deserve it. Interestingly, during his illness he never gave up smoking.
3 years after his diagnosis, he announced to his ex-wife (my friend) that he was going to play 2 more shows and then die. My friend was furious with his attitude and his doctors assured him he would live at least a couple more years and probably quite a bit longer. Dave (I guess I can say his name) played the 2 shows and then needed urgent medical attention. A tiny spot had shown up on his stomach upon examination. Only a couple of days after that, the tiny spot had consumed his entire abdominal region. The oncologist said he had never in his entire career seen under-control cancer spread so quickly. Dave’s body went into septic shock a few days later. A few hours after that, he was unable to speak to his loved ones on the telephone but was able to hear what they were saying.
I wish I had had the opportunity to speak to him then and tell him how great he was and that the music will live on.
More selfishly, I wish his spirit could come down to me today and tell me what the fear is like. What it is to know that you’re done and that the good things you did in life can’t be improved upon and that the shithead things you did in life can’t be undone. What’s it like to be assessing yourself, paralyzed in septic shock with only a couple more hours left to live and terrorized by what there is, if anything, beyond the life you have just led? What’s it like to stare into your ex-wife’s anguished eyes and wish you could retract some of the hurtful things and hug her but can no longer speak or move?
Morbid first blog, I know, but I promised myself to write about what’s on my mind and this is what’s on my mind today.
Other days I’ll be writing about what size of clown shoes I need to get fitted – trust me.