I've seen it fully assembled in the flesh, and the amount of awesome was very high. It was very hard to walk away. "We're here for the kids, not for me. We're here for the kids, not for me..."
The year so far:
An old friend that I'd become somewhat estranged from passed away after a long battle with cancer.
A friend of mine and my family lost her husband to cancer.
Two older men I very much looked up to passed away to cancer within almost a month of each other. Both of them were excellent men, leaders in the congregation, with a huge amount of common sense. Neither had shown any signs of a problem until a month and a half from their deaths. Both were old enough to be said to have lived "full lives," but it still sucks and it all happened so fast. One day they were fine, the next something's not quite right, next week they've got stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
My middle cat (we had three)... She was not doing well. She's had chronic inflammation of her intestines and her pancreas for years. At least a year or so ago, it was verified NOT to be cancer, so we think she had an autoimmune disorder of some kind. She was the sweetest thing. She'd never hurt anyone unless except out of fear. She was completely deferential to her big sister (not really her sister, but they acted like it). Always let her eat her fill first whenever I fed them. I took to giving her food in a separate room since I had to put some of her medicine in it, and the other cats wanted first dibs!
Anyway, she wasn't doing well. She was regularly going #2 outside the litter box, and it was getting less and less formed. (Sorry if this grosses you out. I've been living with it for so long it's just facts.) There's no cure for that sort of problem, but there are ways to mitigate it. Those methods were losing their effectiveness, though. So I took her back to the vet so they could take a look at her. She was scared to death, like always, but the doctor knew her and was very gentle and understanding. We were going to try changing her diet a bit in case she'd developed an allergy to her food. I took her home, loved on her and the other girls a bit, and then went to work. She appeared to be relieved to be home, and darted under the bed.
After work, I picked up the kids and took them home. Their mama was working a bit late that day, so it was just me and the kids. There was nothing outside the litter box, which was a bit unusual. After checking on the kids homework I told them they could play for a bit. I went looking for the cats. Two of them had already come by to say hello. T... she was still under the bed. She wasn't moving. Her mouth was open, her eyes were open. They looked- Well, if you've seen dead eyes before, you know what they looked like.
That was a couple months ago. The whole family took it hard. Her big sister (cat) has been very clingy ever since. Just got back from the vet and now she's testing positive for pancreatitis.
And in other news, I just turned 40.
Grief. Last year, so many people far away were dying. People I didn't know but wished I had. This year the tragedies are hitting a lot closer to home. I'm not fishing for sympathy, and I don't have any great life lesson I've got to share from all this. Just felt like I needed to write it down. I guess what I keep thinking about is that, if I'm lucky and don't get struck down by some fluke accident or disease, if I live long enough, then it'll be my turn. And that's true for all of us.
So if anyone has any life affirming events going on in their lives right now they'd feel like sharing, that'd be good.