He calls the tumor Garym (the m is a silent nod to the keyboard confusion a brain tumor introduces to a guy who's spent his life typing like the wind at the computer without error). Don does his best to stay strong, active, and upbeat while recovering from brain surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Some days are, understandably, better than others.
One thing Garym has changed is Don's ability to think very far into the future. Celebrating each day is the biggest work to be done. Of course it is.
Garym has also tangled up my friend's ability to write his thoughts down - in an email to a friend, or on a list created during a middle of the night flash of brilliance, or on his blog - which he's kept going for 13 years.
Until this morning, the blog had been abandoned since three months before Don's cancer diagnosis. He told me - just yesterday - how very much he grieved the lack of synaptic success between his busy brain and his fingertips on a keyboard. Writers do not like to watch people ache over not being able to write. Heartbreaker.
Then came this morning, and a fresh, new, dictated/scribed post from my old friend:
It made me smile. And cry a bit. I mean, seriously, would I give a flyin' tomato about the future of our democracy if I had a glioblastoma timer set on this gig called life? The man doesn't even have grandchildren to fret about. He just cares. Deeply. And he wants the rest of us to care, too. About our government. About our right to choose who calls the shots. About free-thinking and free-expression and democracy.
I had my own Rock the Vote blog post in mind for today. It was just a simple list:
- Vote like your high school Civics teacher is watching.
- Vote like your neighbor had to sell her house to pay medical bills.
- Vote like your grandmother is marching through Mexico in search of a safe place to live.
- Vote like your son/daughter had to cower in a classroom closet while listening to screaming and gunfire.
- Vote like your skin is brown.
- Vote like your son/daughter is (still) carrying a gun in Afghanistan.
- Vote like you believe in democracy.
And today I'll add:
- Vote like a guy who's living difficult days with brain cancer asked you to.
If you use the internet well enough to find a blog post, I'm betting you can find your polling location.
Your vote is your voice. And we need all the voices this go 'round.
Please vote. Do it for Don.