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Blogging from Beyond the Grave

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Canadian writer Derek Miller blogged at penmachine.com. He died yesterday at the age of 41, after battling with cancer, and arranged to have this final post published at his site. A snippet:

It turns out that no one can imagine what's really coming in our lives. We can plan, and do what we enjoy, but we can't expect our plans to work out. Some of them might, while most probably won't. Inventions and ideas will appear, and events will occur, that we could never foresee. That's neither bad nor good, but it is real.

I think and hope that's what my daughters can take from my disease and death. And that my wonderful, amazing wife Airdrie can see too. Not that they could die any day, but that they should pursue what they enjoy, and what stimulates their minds, as much as possible—so they can be ready for opportunities, as well as not disappointed when things go sideways, as they inevitably do….

The world, indeed the whole universe, is a beautiful, astonishing, wondrous place. There is always more to find out. I don't look back and regret anything, and I hope my family can find a way to do the same.

Read more here. 

Condolences to his family and friends.

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  1. why is is we all have grace when we know death is close?

    1. I give up. Why?

      1. I think it is because it is pointless to lie to ourselves. We are truthful for the first time, and it freeing to hear and speak it.

  2. Christ, that’s sad. I just read the whole thing. It hits home for me for several reasons. I’m three years older than he was; I met my wife in college while studying biology one year before he met his; and we have two teenage daughters. My heart goes out to his daughters and wife.

    And the snippet above is particularly apropos as well, because I’m in a job I fucking hate right now and have been forcing myself to stay here for about the past year or more. I’m pretty much ready to up and walk out the door any day now. But he hit the nail right on the head – it’s sad how many of us spend so much of our lives doing things we don’t enjoy, we don’t find stimulating, engaging or even interesting – things for which we have no passions and which we do not find rewarding; and which do not add anything meaningful or of value to our lives – merely because someone is paying us to do it.

    Fuck, I have to get the hell out of here.

    1. Who do you think we are? Your therapist? Get a grip, man.

  3. Existence is a kalaediscope – one knows not what colors one will see until the ring of time is turned.

    1. I couldn’t find it. Is it yours?

      1. Couldn’t find what, honey – your brain? Where did you leave it last time you took it out to play with?

        1. You must have low self-esteem that you couldn’t receive a compliment

          tant pis pour toi

  4. But he hit the nail right on the head – it’s sad how many of us spend so much of our lives doing things we don’t enjoy, we don’t find stimulating, engaging or even interesting – things for which we have no passions and which we do not find rewarding; and which do not add anything meaningful or of value to our lives – merely because someone is paying us to do it.

    Yep. Nearly every day I wonder how much life I wasted that day. I realize that almost everyone leads an unexceptional life, in terms of getting up and going to work, but that is small comfort.

    I’m reminded of a story from about 7 years ago, when a woman was driving to work on the Beltway, doing what she probably does every day, when a truck tire, flying through the air, smashed through her windshield. End of the line for her.

    Makes you think about what meaningful and enriching thing you could be doing instead of watching TV or whatever meager activity you can manage working 9-6 and raising a family. I’ll get cracking on that, one day.

    1. unexceptional life. You have children who love you and marvel at your perfection. Money means very little.

      1. Sure, raising a family in not insignificant, but believe you me, that’s some seriously delayed gratification.

        I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about doing things that have significance beyond the normal routine. Living, for more than just the moment.

        There’s more to life than the rat race. Full stop.

        1. what prevents you from doing things?

          Marriage, children, money, fear of success, or failure? It is easy to get lost in responsibility but it is your own duty to pursue fulfillment. Disclosing your needs to your wife and children will help you focus on doing, whatever that is for you.

          1. what prevents you from doing things?

            Oh, I don’t know, job, money, time, schedules, kids, family, etc. It’s easy to get bogged down in the minutia of everyday life. It’s just a reality that raising kids is very time-consuming. Your own life is largely on hold for 18+ years.

            If you have kids, then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

            Just mark this down as not wanting to go to the grave with regrets about not doing more.

  5. That’s wonderful. Surprisingly uplifting right until the end.

  6. His site is getting slashdotted as this word spreads; I discovered it about a month ago, and he writes a pretty significant monologue over the years and months as he goes from “went to the doctor for a stomach ache, found out I had cancer” to “so far so good, sounds like this is the only lesion” to “oh crap I have metastases” to “here’s hoping I’m alive to renew my driver’s license” to “I’m stopping chemo” and onward. In and amongst that are the mundane snippets of life with cancer to more interesting bits on digital caretakers for his blog, interviews and so on. It’s a wonderful resource and I do hope it can be kept functional once the initial traffic spike dies down.

    I hope whoever

  7. Forgot to post an alternate link; one of his friends is graciously mirroring the blog post here. http://derek.ryanmccuaig.net.s…..onaws.com/

  8. I’ve never seen a comment thread that looked so much like a collection of lonely monologues.

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