LIVING LARGE, DYING WELL
My cousin died well on Friday. Hammered by Ewing's sarcoma a childhood disease rare in adults he had, um, padded the truth a bit. Either that or the grapevine tangled between Florida and Seattle.
"Months to go," I heard. "But visit soon while he's still strong."
Ryan McCleskey was strong right until the end. He was laughing and joking with friends at home. "I need to rest," he announced. Then he walked into the other room and died quickly in the arms of his family: his new bride Kitty, his brother Reed, his mother Darlene.
He was just 26. But he had the sense to pass with love, laughter and dignity ... what more can you really ask for?
Except for dear ones not to die young. And for him to see the second annual Ryan McCleskey Redfish Challenge II today. Despite crummy weather, 102 fishers raised over $9,000 for the Children's Hospital Cancer Fund.
Some Jack Johnson lyrics tug at me:
I heard some words
from a friend on the phone,
didn't sound so good
The doctor gave him two weeks to live
I'd give him more if I could
And I can imagine Ryan's voice booming: "Amy (my baby name), can't you find something more butch?"
So I'll sign off with silliness, as he would have liked. In This is the Place, Anthony Kiedis sings: "On the day my best friend died /I could not get my copper clean."
The reference is probably to some junkie kit. But I always imagine Flea and the other Red Hot Chili Peppers scrubbing posh pots, distracting from grief with menial tasks, like I've done.
My heart's heavy, but my house is damn clean. And that, I'm pretty sure, would have made my cousin grin.