In memory of Leroy Sievers

Yesterday, I pulled up NPR’s web page, hunting for some story, and was stunned when I saw the news that Leroy Sievers died Friday night.

I didn’t know Leroy and wasn’t aware of his work as a journalist. I learned of him two years ago when NPR reported on his blog My Cancer. That was around the time my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Leroy, 51, was fighting his cancer. My mother, 86, decided not to fight hers. With great equanimity, she announced that she had lived a full life and would let the disease take its course.

I followed Leroy for a bit and was encouraged by his progress. Soon, I had more than enough reality preparing my mother and myself for her death, and I stopped reading Leroy’s blog. Even after her death, now approaching the second anniversary, I did not resume reading, needing time and space for my own scars to heal.

Hence, my surprise and tears when I read of Leroy’s death at age 53. His fight gave him another two years, yet his time ended too soon for someone who had been so full of life. Just read Ted Kopel’s remembrance.

The last two weeks of Leroy’s blog are poignant. The family’s decisions to engage hospice and bring in a hospital bed were not easy, markers that the end was coming. Sooner than expected, it seems, and certainly sooner than hoped.

In the quiet of this evening, the crickets the only sound other than my typing, I am honoring Leroy’s struggle and courage and wishing his family comfort and strength. The immediate days after such a loss are a blur of preparation and sorrow, the sorrow creeping in when the activity subsides and the house becomes quiet.

My daughter is a fan of PostSecret. One of her favorite postings comes to mind, an admonition for the rest of us:

Psst, here’s a secret. Your last mortal thought will be, “Why did I take so many days – just like today – for granted?”

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