There is a short list of blogs I read that are written by other cancer (what is the word? – Sufferers, victims, patients, survivors?). You can’t help but read the notes passed to you by other ambulators among the walking dead. One came closer than most for a number of reasons.

She died on Christmas Day. I did not see that coming. The book she wrote in her final months has not even arrived on my doorstep yet, and I had expected many months more of following her blog.

Her book takes its title from a poem by Raymond Carver called “Late Fragment”. For a modern American novelist, Carver was a true working class boy with a story back-lined with a heavy-drinking father and his own alcoholism. He died of lung cancer at the age of 50, in 1988. The poem was written in the final stages of his illness and appears on his gravestone.

And did you get what
    you wanted from this life, even so?
    I did.
    And what did you want?
    To call myself beloved, to feel myself
    beloved on the earth.

To paraphrase another bit of Carver’s writing, this is what we talk about when we talk about death. To try to make sense of the dichotomy between the wonderful life-fullness of still being in this world and the pain and melancholy that lies just beneath. Where human kindness reigns supreme.  Where late December sunsets paint skies of infinitesimal beauty. Where, sometimes, nobody bothers to look.