It's so simple to be wise.  Just think of something stupid to say, and then don't say it.     Sam Levenson (1911-1980)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Goodbye, G.

I met G. two years, when he first began treatment. 

He was in sixth grade, hardly a social magnet, preferring to socialize with adults and discuss his many interests, including watch collecting and tasting unusual foods, some of which he brought to the hospital to share with us (and all of which, as I reminded him again and again, I could not eat, for religious reasons).  That only made him laugh, since religion played such a small part in his life. He loved Fantasy books and movies, computer games, riddles, and crass jokes, especially if lawyers were the brunt of them.  He loved to read out lists of these jokes to the staff.

Despite his social difficulties, G. made great efforts to share aspects of his life in the hospital.  I remember us sitting together to design a vehicle made of medical paraphernalia, and then document the steps required to build it so that he could go back to school and show his classmates how life in the hospital had its fun and creative moments.

After a relapse began to affect his memory, G. would describe his favorite ideas repeatedly, sometimes several times a day.  His sense of pride and awareness remained keen as he tried to cover up his memory loss by asking, hesitantly, if he had already told us his latest joke, or reported on his recent trip abroad. Despite feeling weak, he dreamed aloud and with full optimism about his next trip to Europe, and I sat with him to plan it, typing his words into the computer so that he could have a memory aid, and his parents, a memory.

G., I miss your smile, your enthusiasm for learning, your creativity, and your dark sense of humor.  I know you were scared, and I respect your trust in us as you opened up and helped us understand what it is like to rage against the dying of the light.  Go in peace.

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