Remembering 2001

Posted on Tuesday 11 September 2012

This was posted by my friend Pam as her status on Facebook today.

“On this day we are reminded of how fragile life is. Cherish and love your family and friends. Tell them you love and appreciate them every single day. You never can know if you will ever see them again.”

Eleven years ago was one of the worst years of my life. It was 2001 and on June 11, 2001, my wife Gee lost her fight with pancreatic cancer. We knew before we had gotten married that it was likely that she would die from cancer before much longer. Gee had been diagnosed on April 23, 2000 with stage three metastatic pancreatic cancer and hers was a particularly aggressive version of it.

On Valentine’s Day, 2001, Gee had her final round of radiation therapy, and two weeks later, her scans were clean. We were happy, not knowing how the radiation and chemotherapies had missed some of the cells and how quickly they would grow and spread. By April 7th, her scans showed over a dozen masses spread over most of her abdomen. We tried a second round of chemotherapy which was ineffective.

The day after Gee died, I got a book in the mail. It was the book Cancer and Christ that my friend and fellow twinless twin Dr. Raymond Brandt had written. He had promised to send Gee one of the first copies of the book even though he was fighting his own battle with bone cancer. I believe it was one of the last things he did before his cancer prevented him from leaving the hospital. He died a little over a week later.

Fast forward three months to September 11. I was witness to the devastation in northern Virginia, where Gee and I lived. I saw the destruction at the Pentagon personally. I had lost colleagues at the World Trade Center. Working in the wire news service, I saw and heard the news as it was developing.

On September 12, I was talking with a friend. She said to me, “I know why Gee died in June.” I asked what possible reason could there be other than her losing her battle with cancer. My friend replied, “Because God needed someone to train all the new angels from yesterday.

Who knows, she might have been right.

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