Saturday, August 16, 2008

Goodbye Leroy Sievers

Leroy Sievers documented his battle with cancer in a series of NPR commentaries and by keeping a daily blog, My Cancer, at NPR's website. My husband just called out to me from another room to say that he passed away last night. I just shed a few tears reading what he didn't realize would be his final post, a brief snippet about the small comfort of having dog at his bedside, even though it was a stuffed animal.

By reading his blog last year and a half, Leroy helped me to understand the highs and lows of what my friend might be feeling like as he battled with his own cancer. When my friend finally passed this spring, I wrote Leroy to thank him for his posts.

One of the things that struck me was that TV was not as irrelevant as you might think to Leroy. Yes, he was a TV journalist for Nightline, but he didn't just watch the TV for the news--in fact, a daily reminder of the harsh realities of life was exactly what he didn't need. He was thankful that in the midst of the writer's strike that there were new episodes of Lost to transport him to a distant island so he didn't have to resort to watching American Gladiators.

And even one of his final posts on Wednesday was about TV, this time how it could bring people together:

We watch, we hope, we wait, along with everyone else, glued to the games in Beijing.

It's these games that give us hope, too. It's these little bits of normalcy that let us think that there's hope for all of us.

For a few minutes, here and there, we're not cancer patients. We're spectators, rooting for our athletes.

I almost forgot how much fun that can be.

If TV can connect us in a common experience, the same could be said of Leroy's blog. For him, it was, in his own words, "A daily reminder that none of us walks this road alone. What could be better than that?" It was never soaring or saccharine and yet remained positive, or at least accepting. Those living through cancer, or living with someone with cancer, could hear someone speak about the types of experiences they were having. They could gain and give support to each other.

For the sake of the community that grew up around this blog, hopefully My Cancer will live on in some form and remain a lasting legacy to Leroy, but it will be hard to replace the dry wit and honesty he shared with the world.

No comments:

Copyright 2008