Thursday, February 24, 2011

Goodbye, Dear Sir

Today a man I admire, respect and care for lies in the hospital dying.

I never heard him complain over the years. Not once. I was always impressed with that. Not when they took out his spinal fluid to irradiate it and put it back, not during chemo, surgery, and not when his heart stopped working, not when his brain stumbled. Each time he'd just - come back, step by step, as if it were something anyone could do. He'd shrug as he described his trials, as if the surgery or chemo were a small thing.  An inconvenience. A minor detour.

He was easy to admire, and it was easy to think he'd keeping beating Death.

This time, it seems not.

Across the years, when I'd see him, he would hug me with a sort of fierceness and a smile, as if to say, "Yes, yes, I am a scientist, but also I believe in you."

The tears of grief are for we who remain in life, not for them, the dead. Where do the dead go, that I can wish this man well?  That I can send something, some final appreciation, some bit of love?

Goodnight to you, dear sir. I hope there is something on the other side, something good and wonderful, because imaging you gone forever is almost more than I can bear.

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