Several months ago, JB’s uncle Jack was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Jack endured the radiation and chemotherapy treatments, losing his hair and his body weight along the way. He had a heart attack, and a stint was installed. He battled a horrible hospital-acquired infection. A tough sonofabitch by any standard, Jack told JB life kept trying to knock him down, but he was by god still standing.
We all hoped he was out of the woods, but last Monday Jack’s wife dragged him—as he was famously reluctant to complain—to the emergency room with debilitating pain in his back. A scan revealed that the cancer had spread to his bones. A grim diagnosis was given, 1-3 months.
By Thursday he was gone. I don’t even know how it happened so fast. I suppose there is some cold comfort in the fact that he didn’t continue to suffer. I don’t know if there is any comfort to death, though.
JB talked to him right before he died; a family member held the phone to Jack’s ear and JB spoke blindly into Jack’s labored breathing and those words are between the two of them but I believe Jack heard him. I believe that even as he slipped away, he knew he was surrounded by love.
Maybe there is comfort to that, if nothing else.
Jack has always been a big part of my husband’s life and it feels like a critical branch has been torn from the family tree. I keep wishing I could say something, the right thing, that would help ease the loss, but this is what happens when someone is loved so dearly: they are missed.
He was a good man, and he is missed.