“Oh my God, he’s gone! He died. He actually died!”
These are the thoughts that arrest me, out of the blue regularly.

I might be driving, or out buying groceries, perhaps out having fun with friends, or teaching at the pool, when without any warning I remember. Dan died.

When this moment hits it quite literally stops me in my tracks. A year of Dan’s diagnosis, treatment and final days play at top speed in my head, and I am left breathless. It happens in a moment, and in that moment I must quickly decide what to do. Allow myself think about it, or not.photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/shuttermonster/3957821072/">[ Graham Lee ]</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>

Because of the random nature of reality biting, a lot of the time, because of where I am, it is inappropriate to deal with it. I must very quickly try to close the door, in order to ensure no tears fall. However if you were with me, some of you may notice, just for a moment, a hesitation in me or I may seem distracted. In that time I am saying a very quick goodbye to young Dan, and moving on.

However there are other times, when uninvited the reality of what happened last November suddenly comes to mind.
On those occasions, when I am alone, I hear myself say in amazement, “Dan got leukemia”. As I say it, I shake my head. It is still as hard to comprehend now as it was the very first day I heard, or suspected the diagnosis. I recall the treatment, the many difficult days, and the slow drip of realisation, that perhaps he and his family would not have a happy ever after.

If I am alone, I may decide to allow this reality seep into my consciousness. I will look at the beautiful face on the photos in my kitchen and once again shake my head. How can someone so handsome, so young, so wild and full of life, be here no more. I try to reconcile the memories I hold, and all I have heard since Dan died, of the carefree, sports mad, young boy, to the reality of his name on the cross on his grave.

Gone. Gone forever. Robbed of life at thirteen.

I begin to wonder what might have been, and that always makes me smile. I imagine he would have driven his mother mad, with his not having a care in the world for school, homework, or rules. His father would have been so proud going from match to match with the boy of every fathers dreams. His sisters and brother would have fought with, and loved him in equal measure. His relatives would have enjoyed his zest for life, knowing that was Dan. And somewhere in the future, after breaking a fortune of hearts, someone, somewhere would make him spin, and we would have seen a whole new side to Dan.photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/billiestockphotos/4321224192/">billie stock</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>

It is heartbreaking to think this way, and tears fall freely,but taking the time like this to really remember both the old Dan, who could have taught us all about life, and the Dan who is now missing, allows me to spend a bit of time with him in any day. Even if it is just a quick chat, or a wondering how he is, or in fact where he is?.

As time goes by I can begin to comprehend that Dan is gone. I say “begin”, because as I write the word “gone”, I am once again hit by a train.

“Oh my God, he’s gone”.

I am not his mother, father, relation or godparent. I cannot imagine grief such as theirs. I can only just be there to walk this long road beside them, and to let them know that even though he is gone, a special, much loved young boy such as he, will never be forgotten by so many of us. In that way he lives on.

*****Dan had leukemia, but managed to get a bone marrow donor. Sadly an infection got the better of him after a very successful transplant. Please consider going on the bone marrow register. Someday you could save a life.

Be the match
Bone marrow donation Ireland
Bone marrow transplant UK

photo credit: [ Graham Lee ] via photopin cc
photo credit: billie stock via photopin cc

31 thoughts on “Gone.

  1. Many years ago, my then little daughter was very sick and at the hospital. I got to know, there were 50% chance to bring her home alive again. After she became healthy again, I felt so grateful and lucky, that I decided to be a donor with all, they can use, if I die by accident. I did this, because I did mind, if any of my kids ever would need an organ, I would be so very grateful to receive this for them. And if I wanted to receive, I also must have the will to give. It is 28 years ago.
    We can all help, if we wish to do so. In one or another way.
    Kind memory about Dan Tric.

    1. What a dreadful experience for you to go through. I am so very glad you had a happy outcome.
      Illness changes us. I make sure I give blood regularly now and try to encourage as many as possible to think of bone marrow donation.

      1. I haven’t been able to give blood because of medication and now I did want to try here in Spain. Unfortunately it did become a business, so you give for free to help and they sell it to the hospitals here. I don’t like that kind of business. So I am still minding about that.
        I’m just happy, that my daughter did survive that sickness.

  2. Sadly, not all bone marrow transplants work, or in Dan’s case, other things can reach up and take them anyway. This also happened to my step-mother, who received the diagnosis of leukemia at age 64, just after retiring. After the courses of chemo, the only resort was a transplant, but here in the U.S., bone marrow transplants are not considered for people over certain ages, and in her case, she was not considered a candidate. However, a local university was doing them on an experimental basis, so she became part of a clinical trial, received her transplant (with a donation from her brother), and it was going swimmingly, and then ten days later she was dead. Shocking still these many years later. I saw a picture of her just a few months before she died and she looked great. So you just never know . . . life is fragile.

    1. My sympathies to you on the loss of your stepmother. She was way too young to die. I know Dan didn’t make it but without the transplant he had no hope and as family didn’t match it was wonderful to know he had a chance.
      It didn’t work but we are still so very grateful to that young girl from the USA who will never know any of us, and yet we think of her and are so grateful for all she did.

  3. Dan was so young and it is sad to consider what he may have missed. Almost daily I see a photo of my mama P or just think of her, and my heart sinks. It seems surreal to think of her as gone, even though I know she is. It just seems like she lives in another state, and I will see her again….Until I my mind reminds me that I wont. I feel for you and this family, and I reach far to you for another hug.

    1. Thanks Bryan. I give a little wave to Ben also. It’s always a lonely moment, two young boys. Hard to believe.
      Your journey is so hard, but for what it’s worth I’ve not forgotten you.

    1. It must really be the unimaginable. No matter what any day brings it could never be as bad as that. Even experiencing it from a friendship vantage point has had a huge impact on us.

  4. That realization at any moment that something isn’t right in your world, that ‘stop you in your tracks’ kick in the gut….. It’s a horrific moment that never stops.

    You speak so beautifully of Dan. I’m so sorry for the pain of his loss.

  5. My compliments to you in being such a wonderful friend. Not everyone has friends like you who stick with them through thick and thin, especially the very long and difficult journey following the death of a child. The death of a child is truly unimaginable…and it is sometimes followed by the loss of friends we thought to be true.

    1. Thank you Rebecca. I have just visited your blog and I am so sorry for your loss. I also read how you go walking. That has been a huge help also for my friend and others affected by Dan’s loss. In case your interested this is a post I wrote called “walking through grief”.https://mythoughtsonapage.com/2014/01/22/walking-through-grief/ Dan’s mum and I have been friends a long time, this has not distanced us at all thankfully. Time moves just as it always did but somedays it is hard to believe it just keeps on ticking further away from a time when everything was different.

  6. Death is always sad but when it affects a very young person it can eat away at your soul. I lost my brother when he was 18 years old. Grief does get better and it does ease and you do find a new balance in life. It will always hurt but it hurts a lot less as time goes on. Hope you and his family can find resilience in this difficult time.

    1. Thank you so much. This is just what we need to hear. I am sorry for your loss. How long ago did you lose your brother? It will be good to share this with Dans mum, as he had siblings who must feel his loss so much.

      1. He died three years ago. The first twelve months are the hardest, they are really tough and you just need to go through all that process. You cry nearly every day and you see strangers on the street that look like him and you wonder what the future might have been like for them. You ask yourself how it is possible that the world is still going on without them. But I promise it does get easier and it is possible to be happy and go on with life. It never stops hurting when you think about them but you no longer feel a wave of grief that shakes you every time. For me, what helped was keeping busy and focused on my studies. Everyone channels things in a different way, but no matter how they do it, it does get lighter and easier 🙂

  7. Some 30 years ago I was working with Early Intervention children and met a boy with leukemia. In his name, and for his sake, I signed up to be a bone marrow donor. I was never called upon, but there were so many night when I wished that I would be asked to step forward to save a life.
    I’m so sorry for your loss, and for that of your friends. I hope that your story inspires many, many more potential donors to sign up!

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