Friday, April 18, 2014

The Battle is Over and the Survivors Remain

Troy with Lucas last weekend
Many of you know that my 23 year old nephew Troy has been fighting valiantly against cancer. The end came suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday and has left a gaping hole in the hearts of everyone who knew him--his family, friends, and the healthcare professionals who worked with him.

It was just last Sunday, five days ago, that he and his mom were at my house on their way home from the Master's Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, where he was able to attend the opening round. I had no indication then as they pulled out of the driveway that it would be the last time that I would hug him and tell him that I loved him.

There is a huge hole in my heart.

I always believed that he would beat the evil illness that was trying to kill him from within.

Last Saturday I officiated at the wedding of my best friends and a week from tomorrow I will be attending Troy's memorial service. It is surreal.
Troy (on right) and his family with Derek Jeter last year

I am mad that the doctors couldn't heal Troy. I am mad that science has not figured out how to cure this terrible plague on humanity despite the billions of dollars that it has consumed.

I want to do something--I want to change the culture among young men so that we can talk about private things more openly--like Testicular Cancer. How many other young men must suffer and die before we can overcome the social taboos and begin to save lives? 

I was thinking of an Easter Hymn--The Strife is O'er, the Battle Won, I don't know why, during the six hour drive from Baltimore to Ithaca yesterday. Maybe it is because it is the Easter season and today is Good Friday when our Savior died for our sins and to give us eternal life. 

Some of the Lyrics are as follows:

Nicole and Troy many years ago
The strife is o'er, the battle done,
the victory of life is won;
the song of triumph has begun.

The powers of death have done their worst,
but Christ their legions hath dispersed:
let shout of holy joy outburst.

Troy's three year plus battle is over and while he is no longer with us, I am convinced that he won the battle. He demonstrated grace and incredible maturity and resilience at every step of the way. I watched him grow from a boy into a man. We who remain behind are scarred; there is a big hole in our lives. But my memories of him are real and keep him alive to me.

I know that Troy still lives because I believe in eternal life. I know, in my head, that his pain and suffering have been taken away. But because Troy no longer walks among us I cry.  We have lost someone that cannot be replaced--a unique man with incredible promise and abilities. He has walked across the bridge from life into eternal life and although I cannot see him and talk to him anymore--he is alive in my heart and I will see him again, someday.

As I once heard a very wise man say, he has a new address in his forever home and while I can't text him on my cell anymore--he will be there when I finally take up residence in my forever home.

I still cannot believe that he is gone--but he will never be forgotten.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Ithaca, NY

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