I found out last night that my college roommate’s youngest brother died on Friday of leukemia. I knew he was sick, but last I heard he was in remission. Her family has really had a hard time of it in the last 10 years or so. Her mom died of adrenal cancer in 1997, she had extreme difficulties getting pregnant (although she finally had a son in September), and now this. I can’t imagine what she is going through. And her poor dad. I cannot begin to imagine his despair. A wife, and now one of his sons. Both to funky cancers. WTF is in the water there? If I were in his shoes, I’d be damn near suicidal.
Scottie was such a sweet kid. He was only 20, if that. I remember him as a little boy. He was 12 years younger than us, so he was still so little when I knew him. Because of the age difference, Katie was his band director for a few years when she went back to her home district to teach. I barely knew him, but I knew Katie adored him.
So how do I say I’m sorry? How do you say you’re sorry your little brother died because of a shitty disease? How do you say you’re sorry that life has dealt you such a crappy hand? How do you say you’re sorry that you’ve grown apart? That your best friend from college, the maid of honor from your wedding, your confidant for so many years, has been reduced to a Christmas card recipient and not much more? God knows I tried to stay in touch, but should I have tried harder, smarter? I’ll send flowers, and a condolence card, but it doesn’t seem like enough. It isn’t enough, but I don’t know what to do. I can’t make it to the funeral, the distance between Denver and St. Louis is too great. I couldn’t make it to her mom’s funeral for the same reason. We were lucky to make it to her wedding; Tom’s sister got married the night before in northern Iowa and Katie got married in southern Illinois. We drove through the night to get there. I’m just heartbroken that I can’t do more. I’m thankful that she has wonderful friends nearby and a husband who is loving and supportive beyond words.
So I’ll pray for her family. That’s pretty much all I can do and it’s not much. I’ll pray that her family finally gets cut a break. I’ll pray that they remember him with smiles and not tears. And I’ll pray that Scottie and his mom are finally together. But mostly I’ll pray that Katie continues to be one of the strongest women I know.