Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saying goodbye to everyone at the party

Last night was the first concert of the Fountain City Brass Band season.  Afterward, we went to a local house of ale, trivia-via-hipster, and cover bands to celebrate.  The party went on and good times and laughs were had by all.  As people start to drift away, those remaining offer "bye!" and waves from their seats in mid-conversation stream. 

Finally, it was time for me to shuffle home as well.  There were still enough people remaining that we still covered two tables, so I got up from the table I had most recently been haunting and popped in at the other table (where I started) to say a quick farewell to everyone.  One guy stood up to shake my hand, which was a kind of different-era moment, and out I went.  I had touched base with everyone and checked off all the boxes.

That's basically what Mike Celizic did as he was dying of cancer.

I didn't know Mike Celizic.  I'd never heard of him until I read the final entry of his cancer blog.  Late to the party, I found it today; Mike Celizic died on Thursday.

It's a good read.  It shows how a man can be satisfied with the life that he's had the opportunity to lead.  And it's a final farewell from someone who knows there will be no more parties. 

We have enough knowledge in this day and age to know how final some things can be.  It always pervades our conversation "see you later" or "I'll take care of it tomorrow".  I always hesitate before using the word "goodbye": it always feels like it has a weight of finality attached to it, enough to demand parsimonious application.  On the flip side, it makes truly awesome final button of a conversation or relationship.

And a final button is basically what Mike writes.  It's about his birthday, which was also the day he was informed he was likely to die from his cancer.  And die soon.  But he manages to make a goddamn lemon meringue pie from his life-lemons. 

This is a good read.

1 comment:

  1. Quite a powerful thought to take home from Mike Celizic's linked entry, "The object isn’t to live as long as you can, but as well as you can."

    I can not help but think of what our society would be like if this was a law or an otherwise official mandate of some fashion. One can substitute almost anything into first part of the phrase, "the object isn't to live as recklessly as you can" or "the object isn't to live as greedily", and it still rings true.

    Living well IS a balance. You can drink too much water and you can drink too little, or you can eat too much food and you eat too little ... Your body responds the best to a healthy balance. Everywhere you look is balance as it even applies to the non-tangible. There is a reason that balance is one of my favorite words.

    I respected his honest and humbled approach to his remaining time. It can be viewed as gift that he had as much time to say goodbye as he did. I hope I can retain my composure and honor if/when I am presented with a similar terminal illness.

    The ultimate combo; mortality and humanity.