Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Night

It's going to be a more mellow Friday here tonight so you know that up front.

Passing of a Friend
I got the sad news yesterday that my good friend Au Soleil Levant had died on Wednesday. She was 27 years old. My heart is with her loving parents, her brother, her sister, and all of her family and friends.

Soleil had cancer, fought it off, it came back, she fought again (and had bone marrow transplant), and again the cancer returned. There is much more and you can see a timeline here.

You think you are tough? You think you are strong? She was more so. I could never be as courageous as Soleil, and I know that. I used to always say she had an iron will and a steel resolve. Soleil stayed positive every time I read her blog or when we corresponded by email. A post from April 2010 really stood out to me as how she dealt with the struggle. Her "How Far I've Come" reminded my of an old section of a book I once read. It was a Japanese samurai sword making history with little sayings along the pages. I still cannot find the book or remember the title. What I did remember was this part and I left it in the comments section:
"Though every step was difficult I endeavored to press on;
After some time I forgot to press and looked back at how far I had come;
I never even noticed the river!"
Soleil often referenced that quote in emails as she crossed so many more rivers than anyone should ever have to cross.

I once had a DNA translation contest where I entered a DNA sequence that when correctly translated would read an answer. Soleil won! I sent her a 1 oz silver Maple Leaf and a copy of "Time and Again" as a prize. Very impressive.

There was all that and more. When I was very ill this summer with a bad intestinal infection, Soleil checked on me to make sure I was ok. Her, sick with relapsed cancer, checking on me. She was that way. The last note I have from her was from September 5th. I have been and will always try to keep her optimism and her resolve a part of my everyday life.

I am sure Soleil could have done anything she wanted if she had the chance. I am better for knowing her and the world is worse off without her. She was an inspiration, a brilliant mind, a tender heart, and she was my good friend. Rest in Peace.

Music
Tonight I am playing three songs Soleil requested at various times and then one of my own selections.

Last request, on August 19th 2011, Florence and the Machine "The Dog Days are Over":


From February 11th, Jason Mraz and "The Remedy":


From her June 15 Birthday pick (it played on June 16, 2010) here is Dido and "Closer":


Last song tonight is Samuel Barber's timeless "Adagio for Strings":


Night.

18 comments:

Jake said...

I'm so sorry for your loss

Watchtower said...

: (

GawainsGhost said...

Yeah, cancer is a bitch. I watched my father die from it over two years. That was painful.

And I'll tell you something about chemotherapy. I wouldn't take it. I saw how hard it was on my father.

The way I look at it, if I had cancer and it killed me, that's the will of God. But I'm not going to pay some doctor to poison me and still die anyway. That's just how I see it.

Still, you have to admire the courage of people in life threatening conditions, their will to live.

I've been there. April 23, 1979, I took a short cut home from my after school job, down a dirt road between two orange groves. It was dark, and I came up to an intersection where some punks had stolen the stop sign. Got side-swiped by a pickup going about 70 mph.

The impact was so hard, it knocked me from the driver's seat out the passenger window, forty feet through the air. My car rolled over three times and landed on top of me. The muffler burned my knee down to the bone. It was over an hour before the paramedics arrived.

I was in a coma for two weeks. Nobody thought I was going to live. My best friend Vincent, who was a brilliant musician, was dead, caught his head on the rear view mirror as the car flipped over and broke his kneck. They buried him before I woke up.

I had multiple operations, two skin grafts on my knee--they had to cut away the burned flesh and graft skin from my thigh onto tendon and bone--and two eye muscle operations to correct my vision.

Nobody thought I would be able to walk. Nobody thought I would go to college. Everybody thought my life was essentially over.

But, hey, I'm still here, walking around with two bachelor's degrees and a master's degree, making money. If you could have seen me then in the hospital, broken, bloodied and burned, you would not believe it to see me now.

My heart goes out to your friend. She put up a valiant struggle, but sometimes the obstacles cannot be overcome. That's the way of the world.

Dying is easy. It's living that's hard, especially after the loss of a loved one.

The Sovereign Bohemian said...

Soleil sounds like she was a fighter and a good friend. Sorry to hear she passed away. I am glad you made this post tonight to celebrate the good things about her.

I am anxious to listen to tonight's music picks when I get home from work tonight.

Sorry for your loss G man.

getyourselfconnected said...

Jake, thanks but I think we all lost when she was lost.

Watchtower, you are a true friend and I appreciate it.

Gawains, treatment gave Soleil a chance to do many things she wanted to.

Sov, again thank you. Means a lot.

Anonymous said...

What an awesome tribute to your friend and I'm sure she would be smiling at your kind words and thoughtful songs. The world is better having friends like you to remind us that life is short and we should all just be kind to one another.
One thing I take away from this is that you should be smiling..
Hugs my friend, Theresa

getyourselfconnected said...

T, you are the best.

getyourselfconnected said...

##@ my friend is gone.

Anonymous said...

It was her time.

After removing life support from my own father I became friends with death and found him to be a welcome part of my life. Some day it will be our time and we will be thankful for the rest.

Dwell not on loss but the happiness of life.

G

Leesa said...

He GYC,


A beautiful tribute a very beautiful friend, a person who could light up a dark room with her bright and beautiful-- no... her absolutely GORGEOUS smile!!
Soleil, a dear and beloved friend of mine for a little over 4 years now, I have been truly blessed to have had her in my life and we were able to have good times together during her two years in France.
I have only met two people in my life who have been so strong and courageous as this while fighting the "BITCH CANCER" - my mom and Soleil... And it was very often that Soleil would console me and talk to me about my mom, and help me feel better..
I love my friend and miss her very much now... Thank you for this wonderful tribute to her ... she is someone who I will keep close to my heart and I will feel the void of her no longer being her with us...
Anytime you need to talk, I'm here..
And thank you so much to your friends here/commenters who have left you such lovely notes in love and support...
It's so hard to lose someone so dear and precious...
Take care, Leesa

Jennifer Hillier said...

GYSC,

I am so, so sorry for your loss. You wrote a beautiful tribute to your friend, and I hope it helps start the healing process for you.

I lost three people close to me to cancer in 2010, all within eight months, and I don't know that I'll ever understand why some people are chosen to grace this earth for such short periods of time. I'd like to think that their flames are so bright, so intense, that their light simply cannot be sustained.

Wherever your friend is, she is still with you. She made her mark in this world through you and her loved ones, and the kind of person she was is reflected in the way you felt about her, the way you will grieve her passing, and the way you will always remember her.

I hope you find some comfort knowing that you now have a new guardian angel to watch over you for as long as you live.

All my very best,
J.

Stagflationary Mark said...

GYSC,

Hang in there. It is difficult to lose a friend.

I sent you an email but I'll share a short story here.

My dog Bogi died of mouth cancer about a decade ago. It was very hard on me. I decided that I needed to put her down. The vet kindly made a trip to our house.

I thought I was prepared for it, but at some point I realized that everyone was waiting for me to give the final command.

Now that was hard.

We'd just fed her a plate of raw hamburger so at least she had a meal fit for a dog king before she passed away.

But still, it took me about a year before I wanted another dog. It messed me up.

That said, if I ever get terminal cancer, then I'd want the same thing I offered to my dog. I'd want to live as long as the benefits outweigh the penalties. I am not one who would take heroic actions to extend my life (especially if serious chronic pain was involved).

In a perfect world, I wish I could have asked my dog whether she would prefer all you can eat hamburger and a painless death or to simply continue on. No such luck. Sigh.

Where will I go after death? I say it will probably be the same place I was before I was born. For what it is worth, I don't recall any pain there. Given the alternatives, it might not be such a bad place.

GawainsGhost said...

Well, it's like I said, the will to live. That's what gave Soleil the ability to do the things she wanted to do. It's admirable really. And that was a beautiful tribute.

It wasn't like that for my father. I went over one weekend to visit, and he had just come home from the grocery store. He was standing in the kitchen, clutching the counter. He was panting, his face was red and his eyes were bulging. I took him to the hospital.

They pumped a liter of gunk out of his lungs. He didn't actually have lung cancer, but cancer in the muscle wall around the lungs, which spread. He was in and out of intensive care, on and off a respirator. Chemo was hard on him.

But I've been there, struggling for life. I've lived with chronic pain for going on 32 years now.

Soliel fought the good fight, because she had the will to live. And I'm sure treatment kept her alive to enjoy what time she had.

I'm just saying that I've been as close to death as a man can get. I had the will to live. But if it were me, I wouldn't choose chemotherapy. I saw what it did to my father.

getyourselfconnected said...

Thanks for all the special comments. I am lucky to know all of you. I will be responding to each person today by personal email. Slept in late and then I have so much to do today. It's much easier after reading all the kind words. Thanks.

The Sovereign Bohemian said...

Just wanted to add that I bookmarked the page so I can come back and revisit it when I think I've got it tough. Awesome music, too.

josh said...

Very sad to hear and yet uplifting...we could all learn a thing or two from someone who fought so hard and still managed to be thoughtful about others.

Thanks for writing this.

JB

getyourselfconnected said...

Thanks Josh.

David Batista said...

You have my sincerest condolences, GYSC. This is so sad. You were lucky to have known her, and she was blessed to have you as a friend no doubt.