Monday, June 28, 2010

A Part of the Human Condition

Since the beginning of humanity, every single person that has ever lived on this earth has suffered the loss of a loved one. Not some of us. Not most of us. Every person that has ever and will ever live has this in common. Maybe it was a member of your clan, your tribe, your family, a son or daughter, sibling, spouse, aunt, or whatever. Each one of us must suffer through the excruciating process of adjusting to life without someone dear.

As universal as the phenomenom is, as frequently and universally as it occurs it remains one of the most profound experiences of our existence. One cannot grasp the enormity of it all until they too have had direct contact with it.

As common as the loss of a loved one is, no two people share the exact same experience. In the case of Clyde's death, all of us that were close to her and those that knew about her but weren't close, live a loss unique to them. The sorrow my parents feel is different than the one Clyde's husband Tom is left to bear. Each of Clyde's siblings have their own vantage point from which to view this new reality. And the list goes on for everyone that knew and interacted with her.

It's been my experience that the uniqueness of my relationship with Clyde has made it even harder to bear the weight of losing her. It was me that was given the gift, the opportunity, the responsibility of being the donor of the t-cells that we all hoped would provide the recovery we dreamed about. When she passed, she had me in her on a cellular level. That is a special relationship to have with a person.

It may sound selfish but it is completely honest to say that Clyde's death was the end of a hope and dream for me. When the transplant was evolving in it's process I dreamed of a legacy in which I would be forever remembered as the one that gave Clyde her health back. It was a dream of hero status, the kind of thing that ticker-tape parades are made of. Instead, I will forever live with the phrase "you did your best but..." in the back of my mind.

Don't get me wrong. Having been able to provide hope for Clyde through cell donation is one of the high points of my life. I would do it again without hesitation. There are scant few actions one can take in an attempt to give a cancer patient their health back. That was one and I'd have done more if I could have. Still, with the transplant came a dream of having my existence on this planet validated as worthwhile and special. I hope it's not hard to imagine how that could happen. In the end it just wasn't to be. My dream of that dies with Clyde.

I've noticed that fewer readers are visiting this blog since Clyde's passing. It's my hope that those that do will find comfort in the lessons we're learning through this difficult time. I'm not done here. There is more to learn and share about this rich yet sad experience.

Be well.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Rick, for posting this. I send love and understanding from my family to yours. And I send admiration to you for the fine way you have honored your sister throughout her ordeal. Perhaps, this winter, I can have one of my sons, Packy, meet you. You might have much to share. Packy was with his brother when he died on a snowboard several years ago. He has suffered much and he has learned much.

    One of the things that you are starting to do is change this blog to honoring Clyde in a very different way. I think this is a really good idea and hope you continue with it.

    I believe in immortality. I don't know about the version of it based on faith, although I don't argue against it. However, there is an observable (if we could observe well enough) evidence of immortality that can even be manipulated by loved ones. I do not refer here to memories. I refer to influence (maybe this is kharma). What I mean is that the influence of Clyde on you and your family, and on us through your efforts in this blog and on Facebook, change us deeply.

    I do and see things differently, having lost a son. I consciously honor him and my actions and interactions reflect my experience of him....they reflect the part of his "spirit" that now resides in me. And his influence effects others as the are with each they are with themselves. In this way, Wallace easily "continues". And now Clyde is there too. It's a nice awareness. No faith required and none denied.

    We can speak more on this at another time if you wish. But mainly, I want to encourage you to continue to write here. It will be healing for you, and it offers that part of Clyde that resides in you to continue to speak out.

    It breaks your heart. And the heart opens as well.