Now this doesn't happen to regularly here on tPoL, but I need to be serious for a post. I've been thinking about what I was going to do about this subject on here, if anything at all, but I've decided that it may be best to get it out there, to help explain some of the stress of the end of my last week. And, I thought it could be a tribute of sorts. Anyways. . .
Last Tuesday, my step-brother Matt passed away, after a long bout with glioblastoma -- brain tumors. He was 36. I was in Cedar Rapids when I received the call from my dad, and it hit me kind of hard. My brother was at work, so I was left on my own to kind of collect my thoughts and myself. He hadn't been doing very well of late, so it wasn't necessarily a huge shock, but it doesn't make it any easier to take. My dad said that I should continue my time up there, which was only one more day, that everything was being handled. As much as I wanted to go home, I was worried about being in the way, and this was my last chance to spend some time with Travis before I left for Austin.
The five-year survival rate for this type of cancer is under 3%, meaning that less than 3% of the patients are expected to live for 5 years after the initial diagnosis. Matt was given about 6 months to 1 year to live when he was diagnosed. That was in 2001. I didn't meet him until 2003, which meant that I never knew him without cancer. We were together on holidays and other occasions after my dad married his mom, with is family (his wife and his step-son). And if I hadn't been told, I never would have guess that he was living with cancer. He was always so energetic and outgoing. He owned his own auto repair garage here in Muscatine, and helped his wife out with her candle shop. He also talked with others, and did all he could to spread awareness and help people in a similar situation cope. And he loved music, specifically playing guitar (he was pretty good at, much better than me, which isn't hard to do). I always enjoyed trips to his place, he had some pretty sweet guitars a hell of a setup in his basement where he and some of his friends would rock out. Plus he had a pool table. His basement was an awesome place to hang out and drink a few beers.
The funeral was Friday morning, to a packed house. One of his buddies played one of his own songs a beautiful 12-string guitar. It was a little overwhelming at times, but all in all, a great ceremony. Afterwards I ate lots and lots of food at a luncheon, then helped move some of the flowers to my dad's place. Everyone was basically wiped out, so I did everything I could to lend a hand.
I'm extremely grateful for being able to know Matt and to have had him in my family. He was a great guy, someone who never complained about his position in life, and would talk to and become friends with anyone and everyone he met.
Now I promise that tomorrow I'll put up something about Friday evening, some much more upbeat times.