Thursday, August 13, 2015

It should have been me

Carolyn Kaelin
The first time I remember thinking "it should have been me" was when my friend Earl died in a motorcycle accident in 1997. Earl was beautiful and beloved and had no idea what loneliness felt like. His biggest problem was that too many people wanted to spend time with him. Ever since then, every time I hear about somebody who died who had everything to live for, I think the same thing. Most recently it was on reading the obituary of Carolyn Kaelin, the surgeon and patient advocate, who died of a brain tumor. Her death hit me especially hard I guess because she's the same age as me. True, Kaelin had to fight breast cancer and its complications, but she did, and moved on to have a second career as a patient advocate. She was beautiful and beloved and had a devoted husband and was doing good, important work. There's no greater illustration of the unfairness and absurdity and wastefulness of human existence than the fact that people who have lives worth living die and the rest of us keep living on.