I say astonishing because I find myself relating so closely to his insight, the way he adapts to his disease, his matter-of-fact logicality and humor. He was able to prepare for his own death, and even had a living wake- basically, one final chance to party it up. The last post on his blog was published posthumously a few weeks ago, a somber summation of his life and what its really like to die.
"I haven't gone to a better place, or a worse one. I haven't gone anyplace, because Derek doesn't exist anymore. As soon as my body stopped functioning, and the neurons in my brain ceased firing, I made a remarkable transformation: from a living organism to a corpse, like a flower or a mouse that didn't make it through a particularly frosty night. The evidence is clear that once I died, it was over."
I'm so grateful that Derek had the resolve to share his cancer with the world, with the infinite interwebs, with me.
It reminds me that this blog is important too, for just that reason.
So, some people are dying right now, and some are still fighting , but I am living. Really living, moving on, trying to forget the scarred past, the residual pain, the uncertain future. Filling my head with the scent of new summer rain on unexplored Brooklyn streets.
I can't forget it, but I can build on it. I will add new layers. I will stabilize my crumbling foundation like this old brick wall outside my window. Still standing, somehow.
I'm happy for every miserable second of my life.