My heart is heavy. I had intended to publish another fun, thought-provoking film analysis today, but something happened this week that made me change my mind. Right now would not be an appropriate time for levity.
My brother-in-law, Alan Blood, died on the morning of Saturday, October 15, 2016. He was only 43 years old. He leaves behind his wife (my sister) of 20 years, as well as his three daughters and one son, aged 8, 12, 14, and 17.
It happened suddenly. He had been fighting breast cancer for the past few years. Yes, men can get breast cancer, too. He suffered through numerous hospital visits, chemotherapy, full-brain radiation treatments, and more. It looked like he had finally hit a breakthrough and gotten past a serious rough patch just two weeks ago. He was on the mend and back on his feet.
It had been hard seeing Alan so weak. He was always such a muscular, energetic man, filled with boundless energy and creativity. He welcomed me into his home at pivotal moments in my life when I needed his help. And he was always a friend to me through my awkward adolescent years.
On Friday, he went to the hospital unable to eat or drink anything, and doctors found he was suffering from total liver failure. His body could not digest anything. My sister was with him during his final moments the following morning. His heart rate raced as high as 180 beats per minute before he was given medicine to slow it down. Unfortunately, his heart rate kept falling until it ceased entirely.
I got to visit my sister and her children at their home on Sunday. Tears flowed freely at unexpected moments. A familiar word, a handkerchief in his sweat jacket’s pocket, or his favorite hymn had the power to open deep wounds and trigger crying spells. They clearly miss their husband/father.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had to face the death of a loved one. The last time this happened I was 8, and it was my maternal grandmother who died. I didn’t understand the concept of death, but I knew that I missed her because she had always been kind and funny. She had been in the twilight of her life, so it felt okay for her to die. But Alan’s death leaves a void that will be difficult to fill.
I believe Alan is happy now in the afterlife, free from pain and suffering. He endured so much in the span of his brief life. I won’t say he was perfect or anything melodramatic like that. Everyone has their flaws. But he was probably the meekest man I have ever known. He recognized his weaknesses, admitted them openly, and refused to hide from his mistakes. He owned up to them and spent his time trying to be better.
A good man has died and gone to his reward. May we all be so blessed to have the same said of each of us when the time comes for us to shake off this mortal coil and return home.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding my brother-in-law farewell until we meet again.