I knew he had contracted skin cancer a while ago. They removed the bits from his nose. Skin cancer. A late “postcard” from his time in New Mexico in the late 60ies, early 70ies with massive UV radiation all over the place and taking pictures in some of the nuclear bomb test sites. That and UV reflecting back from the “White Sands”. Guess, that could have anyone done in, much more so a fair-skinned European. Even some 50 years later. Our skin has a memory of its own, I hear. Doesn’t take things easy on “over-radiating”…
Doctors thought they had it in check. That is – until three massive tumors showed up around his neck. “Your body has created a recipé for cancer from the skin cancer”, said the oncologist. I think I can see George scoff upon this very unscientific assessment. Treatment: Cut half his head off to remove the tumors, stitch him back up and – hoping for the best. At age 92. I suspect love to have gotten him so far. His wife’s love who stood by him for 66+ years. Spent time knitting while he was busy squeezing the last bit of horsepower out of his race-grade tuned motorcycles – and racing them and winning, too! (on a shoestring, as he called it himself). Love got ’em a good while further – almost until her 93rd birthday and some way past his 93rd one. Beloved, beautiful wife passed only days shy of her 93rd birthday – which clearly must have broken his big heart. Would have cut mine into a gazillion pieces from only looking at her, let alone getting to spend every waking and sleeping hour with her.
And then: Tumors removed, some permanent malfunction to the facial nerve from that, wife dies, gets buried. And now: Brain tumors! “It’s big,”, he went upon sharing the news with me out of the proverbial blue one late Friday afternoon. WTF?! I’m up to my ears with crap myself and you pester me with your little dying episode? No. Of course, not. It was my way of not going crazy from hearing it.
Couple of weeks later… we lost him. I have been a lousy friend in your remaining weeks, George. Hope, you’ll forgive me one day. R.I.P., brother!