At the same time, my dinner date cancelled due to the flu, which was a mild bummer for me and a much bigger bummer for her. More importantly, yesterday I learned of two recent deaths. An old friend of the family — of my parents' generation — died of complications from a severe stroke. And a young writer friend of mine died of complications from metastatic breast cancer, leaving behind her infant daughter. In neither case was the death especially surprising in a larger sense, but in both cases it was unexpected by me.
I don't walk around in a depressive fugue or anything like that, but I find myself a lot more sensitive to mortality issues these days. As I said to another friend recently, talking about personality changes under extreme stress, the biggest change I see in myself over these past 3.75 years of dealing with cancer is that I've utterly lost my once boundless optimism. (It was John Pitts who pointed this out to me.) I don't think I've become sour or withdrawn, I just have no faith in my future. I've been shot down way too hard too many times in the past few years to feel like flying high any more. Neither of these deaths are about me in any way, and I wasn't especially close to either of the women who passed away, but I still feel them like a leaden cloak upon my bent shoulders.