Recently we lost a beacon in the dark. Arijit Guha, my first young adult cancer survivor role model, died yesterday. There are times when words fail us, and this is one of them. Sometimes it's better not to say anything, so I will be brief. We are as angry as ever, but we remain in debt to a life spent in the service of others, and respectful of its end. I can only write these words now because the news is fresh and hasn't settled. If I stopped to reflect on what I was saying, my words would fail me. I find I'm at a loss. Because today, we've all lost.
I hope you find your rest, Arijit. You certainly deserve it. I have a strong feeling though, that you will be fighting for us still. And I for one would be ashamed to sit back and let you bear the burden all on your own.
If you didn't know Arijit, you can find his blog and read about his story here: http://stageivhope.wordpress.com/
Today, I find myself in deep introspection. Arijit was a hero, and I was fortunate to be aware of his presence on the Earth. It's made me a better person, and helped define my own journey through life. I still don't know how I feel about being engaged in a community where everyone you meet is dying. It's heartbreaking and terrible. And yet those of us who have the least time often turn out to be the most worthwhile. They never forget the lessons of mortality and the perspective gained from facing down the doors to the other side. They can't forget, because they live it every day. There are moments when I find myself falling back into the life I lived before cancer, and the lessons of mortality lose their sense of urgency. For those of us who are lucky enough to have no evidence of disease, it's necessary to be reminded that there was a time when only one thing mattered -- the struggle to live another day in the company of the ones we love.