Two Thumbs up for an individual who was always entertaining. Two thumbs down for a sad end to a brave fight.
Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert has lost his battle with cancer.
The writer, who marked 45 years with the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday, died Thursday, the paper has reported. Ebert was 70.
It seems hard to believe that it’s been a year since you’ve been gone. Today I found myself thinking of little things I’ve missed this past year. I miss the messages on our answering machine. I miss the humour that, more often than not, crossed several lines. I miss the gifts for the kids, the construction sets that came with a gazillion pieces and hurt like you know what when you stepped on them. I miss all the woodworking projects. I miss the looks on Mark’s face when he was talking to you, and just KNOWING you were saying something off the wall, and looking forward to him getting off the phone so I could find out what it was. I miss you calling and saying “This is Dad”… almost right away, and learning pretty quickly it wasn’t just a word to you, that you just happily accepted everyone into your life. I miss the wooden canes. I miss you teaching me how to play guitar. I still have the sheet music with chords on it, tucked away, but don’t want to learn how to play because you’re not here to teach me. I miss hearing you play and sing. More than anything I miss your laugh.
If I had to pick one thing I am the most grateful for, in getting to know you, it was how when you first met my boys… children who were not biologically related to you… you treated them as your own. Anyone on the outside looking in would never have known otherwise. From the beginning, you became “Grandpa Jim” to all of them, you accepted and loved them equally, and I really can’t put into words how much that meant to me.
Maybe the closest I can come to expressing it, is to add what Aric, my oldest son, helped write and read on the day of your funeral. It may sound cliche’ but it really couldn’t be more true: While you may be gone, you certainly are not forgotten.
I’ve learned over time that when cancer takes someone you love, the initial mourning you experience is just that… initial. You deal with what has happened, and you say your goodbyes…. but it’s the afterward part that’s the hardest. Those moments when you’re not really thinking about the person who is gone, but something will happen and an automatic thought will enter your mind, and suddenly you’re facing it again.
This memoriam is a little different than most, because I’m writing it about someone that I have no memories of. It may sound a little strange, but then again there are alot of things about my life that are strange. On Friday, I learned that my Uncle Jim had passed away after his battle with pancreatic cancer. He was an uncle on my Dad’s side of the family, and I was contacted by a cousin on my Mom’s side of the family who let me know. That in itself should explain something.
Because my parent’s divorced when I was two, I was only around my dad’s side of the family three times that I can clearly remember from ages 2-18. This is why my memories of them are very fragmented. The ones I have, however, are very clear. I always figured my mind held onto them tightly because there were so few. Sadly, I had none of Uncle Jim. Still, when I heard the news I cried. In part because I’m a sap. In part because it was yet another family member taken by cancer. And in part because I do remember the people in the family who it would affect the most, like my cousin Jill, and for her and the rest of the family my heart breaks.
We will be making a donation to the American Cancer Society in Uncle Jim’s honour. And to all of my Menke family please know my thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. I wish I lived closer so I could be there, and I hope you find comfort in the fact that he is now at peace.
This story, for me, is the most difficult personal story to share… yet seems the most fitting for me to talk about first, considering my Grandpa was my first real exposure to cancer. I can’t remember exactly how old I was when he got sick… I just remember very clearly that he passed away when I was 14 years old. He had colon cancer.
I’ve been sitting here for the last hour, flipping through website themes, debating on whether or not I should change this one, on my site. There are so many wonderful ones to choose from, and because this website is so important to me I wanted the theme it’s on to be perfect.