In Memoriam: Derek K. Miller

I’ll keep this post short and sweet, but two days ago, the world lost a powerful and courageous person who bared his soul to the world via his blog and other online outlets – describing his battle with cancer – and his eventual death.  He was only 41 years old.

His final entry, “The Last Post” was stark, compelling, honest and painfully sad.  Derek wrote this in advance of his own death from Stage 4 colorectal cancer and asked that it be published upon his death.  And his wishes were honored.  As I tried to share his story with friends, yesterday his blog site went down and the links that I am publishing are from a cache:  a tribute to the amount of people who followed his journey.

I started following his oddessy only a month ago, but found myself gripped by his outlook on his impending and inevitable demise.  He wrote honestly and eloquently.

A small sampling of his last post:

Here it is. I’m dead, and this is my last post to my blog. In advance, I asked that once my body finally shut down from the punishments of my cancer, then my family and friends publish this prepared message I wrote—the first part of the process of turning this from an active website to an archive.

He describes what he is going to miss, not in the sense of the fear of dying, but wonder at what the world will behold had he lived to the age of his grandmother – 91.

And many things will now happen without me. As I wrote this, I hardly knew what most of them could even be. What will the world be like as soon as 2021, or as late as 2060, when I would have been 91, the age my Oma reached? What new will we know? How will countries and people have changed? How will we communicate and move around? Whom will we admire, or despise?

Finally, in a heartbreaking, final paragraph, Derek says goodbye to his two daughters, age 11 and 13, as well as his wife:

What is true is that I loved them. Lauren and Marina, as you mature and become yourselves over the years, know that I loved you and did my best to be a good father.

Airdrie, you were my best friend and my closest connection. I don’t know what we’d have been like without each other, but I think the world would be a poorer place. I loved you deeply, I loved you, I loved you, I loved you.

When I read this yesterday, I found myself haunted by his pain, honesty, worry and self-awareness.  And tearful.

I did not know you Derek, but I wish I had.

Mark

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