I want to thank everyone who has offered kind words and encouragement in my comments section today, and also sent along emails with links and information. I really appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers on behalf of me and my family.
Yes, I truly wish I could be back in Tennessee right now, but I'm afraid I'd just be in the way. Having never had to deal with a death in the family, it's a very difficult time. Yes, my grandparents have all passed away, but their deaths were not unexpected at the time, and there was more of a sense of relief because of the end of suffering than of grief. But even so, I honestly think that I'm glad I'm not there--I have no idea how to act or what to say. I suppose it's good to not be an expert on such things, but it makes me feel somewhat less than human that I can just flip the switch and act like there is nothing amiss.
I feel sad when I think about it, but my natural response is to not think about it, which makes me feel shitty. My mom and siblings are doing enough worrying, and adding my portion of emotional distress to the mix doesn't seem like it would help at all. So here I am, 1500 miles away, feeling strangely detached.
I guess I just don't know how to feel.
As far as answering the questions that have come my way, it's not a blood relative--It's my sister Cyndi's husband David. He's probably the healthiest member of our family, having just run a half-marathon a couple months ago. It's truly a shock. But his mother died of lung cancer, so he mentioned that he was afraid that was the problem before the surgery last week where it was discovered.
And no, nobody in the family has ever had cancer or any of the other rare or exotic diseases. Besides having a tendency to be overweight, our family is actually pretty damn healthy. But like I said, he's not a blood relative, although I've always considered him to be my brother.
Also, for those that have asked, I've never smoked a cigarette in my life. Not once. I only smoke cigars (maybe four a month), and those are not inhaled. If I'm gonna catch it, it'll be from all the secondhand smoking I do at work.
If there is any shred of goodness that could come of this horrible situation, it's that I'm hoping this scares my other brother David (Reverend Dave, my blood brother) into quitting smoking. He never smoked at all until the week he graduated from college, and I think he's got a two-pack a day habit now. His second wife was a smoker, and that didn't help at all.
If he's gonna smoke, it should only be when he comes to Vegas...
Oh well. I'm feeling a little better after letting the world know. I don't know if it's right or wrong, but I have no experience with this type of thing.
Let's hope I never again need it.