Saturday, March 27, 2010

Memorial Service

I am just back from the memorial service for a friend 10 years younger than me, diagnosed with CLL two years after me, who had his transplant two months before mine. This is a rotten disease that doesn't play nice.

I wish I had the faith to believe that it all evens out in some incomprehensible eternity.

My only cold comfort is to paraphrase the words of G-d to Job and Jesus to his followers who seemed to say: "I am G-d and you're not." I guess that it is a better toehold in a world worth living in than to say that it is all meaningless. What I do believe is that the conversation doesn't end with the grave. The holy principle of parsimony begs that a person lives on with clear and tangible influences on this world likes Patrick Swayze's Ghost, but that does not mean there is more to this world than meets the eye.

I will live as this is all there is, and will cling with considered desperation to this earthly plane. I'm sad, but I am also OK. For now, that gestalt will see me through these present storms and those to come. It imbues my life with meaning and mitzvah so that in the distant future when my influence is only what remains of my work and my memory, it will be a force for good and strength.

My friend achieved that through his exemplary life and faith. His wife's, at time joyful, too often painful recounting of the ups and downs, and downs and downs and downs of his struggle has helped so many, known and unknown, in understanding their choices in the battles with their personal dragons. Thank you for writing and posting when it must of been so hard.

Later I will share what I have gleaned, medically and psychologically, from this tragic tale as the greatest lessons are learned from our fumbles and failures. But at what a price! What a price! Did I mention that is is a rotten disease?

A fellow member of our CLL support group reflected that we had lost our first member. That surely is the truth, but it implies that a second and third will be following. That too is surely true, but not for another 40 years or so, please.

I may be no St. George, and my friend may not have killed his dragon, but may all our exploits be as mythical. The dragon slaying rhetoric favored in the CLL community hits the right tones of bravery, faith, and daring-do, but for me, I need something more concrete to image.

Heaven or no heaven, dragon-slaying or no dragon-slaying, faith or no faith, we all, in our own ways, are doing our gritty best in trying circumstances to make good choices and make sense of a world full of pain.



Blogger J.R. said...

I am truly saddened about the passing of our friend. He did fight so bravely and so hard. Who is to make sense of it all? So young. A man with children to care for and a wife who loves him. It is so very hard to understand. But, as you said, we are not the sovereign God. His ways are above our ways. I can only rest in knowing He is who He said He is and He will fulfill the promises He has made:

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

I will live with the only hope I have: Jesus Christ, my Lord and savior. Where else would I go? I already know the world is but a veil of tears. I won’t be clinging. As a matter of fact, I sure would like to make haste and bypass the suffering. But again, I am not the sovereign God.

March 27, 2010 at 5:40 PM  
Blogger Dragon Slayer said...

Ah Brian-great post about Ron. The sadness is great in my heart. Consider that you were a giving resource for Ron and Melanie-the times you showed up for them both physically and emotionally.
Here's to anther 40 years without losing anyone else. From your lips to G--d's ears

March 27, 2010 at 6:43 PM  
Blogger Judy Cleri said...

Dear Dr. K,

I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your dear friend. It hurts to know that you are sitting there trying to make sense of it all and questioning why, because I too have done that very same thing. When my brother was killed a year ago, it broke my heart and the only thing that kept me going was my faith. He was so young, had 3 kids and it just didin't seem fair. When I stopped asking why, I realized that all in all it was a true blessing. Not for us but for my brother. He was a police officer and had been seriously injured in an on duty accident and had been in such pain for many years. God took him home to be with him. He is no longer in any pain. He is in heaven singing praises to our Lord and watchng out for all of us. He is my gardian angel! I miss him just as you will continue to miss your friend. I pray that you will be able to see the blessings in his death one day soon. I'm sure he has touched so many lives with this illness. God uses people in such ways that we never even stop and think about. Look how he touched your life? I'm sure his presence in your life was a true blessing. One that you may of not had without this horrible disease.

It's very funny that your friend JR quoted Romans 8:28 to you as that is my favorite Bible verse. I know we have had a few brief conversations in refence to our faiths. But I strongly believe that this world is a buidling block to so many more blessings if we only believe and put our faith in our Lord and Savior. "All things will work together for good to those who love God and are called accoriding to His purpose."

I too, will live with the only hope I have: Jesus Christ, my Lord and savior. Where else would I go? There is a song we sing in church.....that keeps coming to my mind....I pray that it will help give you some peace of mind and that you will be able to reach out for the comfort that you need.

I need you Jesus
to come to my rescue
where else can I go
there's no other name
for which I am saved
capsure me with grace
I will follow you
I love you Jesus, come to my rescue, where else would I go........


March 29, 2010 at 11:22 AM  
Blogger E. Kostich said...

Lang lebn zolstu!

March 29, 2010 at 1:45 PM  

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