Monday, March 25, 2013

Life isn't fair

"I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, 'wouldn't it be much worse if life *were* fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?' So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe."      
—Marcus Cole, Babylon 5

This quote—one of my go-to lines for reassurance in tough times—is tough to swallow right now.

This weekend was unexpectedly tough. A friend of mine who has been bravely fighting leukemia across the country died this weekend, and it was a shock. He wasn't a close friend, but he was an inspiring, kind, friendly, passionate guy I've known through the music scene in SF for around three years. In my pursuit of concert photography and band photography, he has been one of my most consistent and loyal champions, and we became friends through the early days of A B & The Sea, Wallpaper. and of late, Midi Matilda ... local bands he managed, who I regularly shot, and some of whom have become real, true friends of mine. He always went beyond the call of duty to get me press passes and always made sure that any of my photos used for publicity, no matter where, had my name attached to them. I didn't have to ask him to do that; he was just a ridiculously kind, affable guy who felt the music business from a human perspective. That's so rare. He didn't have to care, but he always did, and that alone made him stand out in my life.

Anyway. He was in remission, until just over a week ago when suddenly he wasn't anymore. He was scheduled to have a bone marrow transplant from his dad next week. Instead, his disease went out of control. We are conditioned to think that leukemia is a "better" cancer to get. That this kind of thing, where you get diagnosed and die three months later, doesn't happen to happy, otherwise healthy 34-year-olds who are in treatment for leukemia and have everything to live for and a positive attitude. It's not fair. It's not fair. Of course I know that tragedies happen every day, but among tragedies this one seems particularly cruel: he loved his wife & son more than anything (he's 2), and his wife is due to give birth to their daughter next week. I mean ... this is the worst part of all. As a wife who has a really close, soulmate relationship with my husband ... I cannot imagine what she is going through. I cannot. It's too awful to contemplate. Yet I find myself thinking about it all the time. It is so unfair that these children have to grow up without their amazing father. It is so unfair that a mother has to travel the very darkest path of her life in this way. So many of the people I care about are in so much pain right now, and that is just the way it is.

I am gripped by the injustice of it all. I am also blown away by the sheer volume and depth of grief for him, and the many lives he touched. I am a mess of jumbled emotions right now and I just want to be there for my friends who are hurting right now, friends I never would have known if not for Steve. What else is there to do? I always was bad at concluding paragraphs, so I'm going to end this here, but I guess (as usual) the takeaway message is this: appreciate your life, because really, truly, you never freaking know.

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