When I did my Team In Training Marathon last month, I walked in honor of two people: one dead (Frank) & one alive (N). I wrote a bit about Frank’s life and death at my fundraising site. I didn’t mention N because, well, for a lot of reasons.
I’ve known N and his wife for 14 years. We’ve lived in the same building; they have taken care of Lily nearly every time I’ve traveled. Their cat is actually Lily’s brother from the same litter. They call me “dear.”
N was diagnosed with leukemia fairly recently – within the last 12 months or so. When I signed up for Team, when I walked my training miles and especially when I made my 26.2 mile journey, I did so with hope for his recovery.
I never got the courage to tell him that I was walking with him in mind – or that I was raising money for LLS. It’s just that I didn’t want him to feel objectified. Does that sound crazy? The marathon seemed trivial compared to his daily challenges. Even when it came time to add his initials to my jersey, I inked the letters small. I guess what I’m trying to say is that his health belonged to him; it wasn’t mine to use or parade. So I kept the idea of him as my “honored teammate” (as they say) pretty much to myself and to Andy.
Tonight I learned that he died last week.
I don’t need condolences, but if you’re inclined to pray, please take a moment to hold N’s family in your thoughts.