In his weblog, Brian puts words around grieving better than anyone I've read in a very, very long time...
I don't know how other people deal with it, but when I am under duress I tend to repress a lot of my emotions. One of the sad realities of battling cancer is you meet a lot of people who have a high likelihood of dying. Over the last year, I have had a half-dozen people I care about pass on. There is never a good time to die, but when you are battling the same disease that others around you are dying from, it can be tough to keep your head up. I imagine it is like true combat. You would like to stop and mourn the loss of your brothers, but there is no time to waste, you must kill the enemy or end up dead yourself.
It is days like today that the memories of my fallen brothers and sisters haunt me. Now that I am no longer under fire, it is time for me to go back and mourn them properly. It can be a dark hallway to look into, but I try to make it bright. I listen to music and celebrate life. I remember past conversations, words they have written, and thoughts they have passed on to me. And I cry. I used to avoid crying, it made me feel weak, or so I thought. But now I can cry and it makes me feel better. Sometimes I feel like I am up against an insurmountable wall, but when I cry, my tears are proof that the feelings inside me are real, and that my emotions can be moved forth into the here and now.
At times, life can seem like it will be this way forever. You take for granted a kiss, a phone call from somebody you love. As I mourn the lives of my friends who have passed on, it is these lonely times I find so dark. It is hard to find brightness when you are alone in an empty room. But I think of the spirit, the strengths that these friends had. I fill my mind with their voices, the life and love of another person can be much greater than yourself, and it can be a beautiful feeling when you find it. I am still learning the language of mourning, and it is spoken with voices in the past. I still hear you, friend.
I hope that Brian's blog will remain accessible for years to come. That is obviously the decision of his family. But if I discover one day I have cancer, Brian's is a weblog I would spend a lot of time on. For information, and for inspiration. And I would bet I'm not the only one.