Saturday, September 20, 2008

Do Not Go Gentle : The Power of A Blog

A couple of years ago my Mom called me to tell me that a guy I grew up with, Scott Swaner, had died from pancreatic cancer. I was shocked. I had spent many of my formative years going to school and church with him, and had more than one crush on him during that time. I remember when my Dad was the Scout Master for the boys in our neighborhood my friend Jeni and I would go on some of his camping trips with my Dad just to hang out with Scott (of course he never knew that). He was cool, smart, good looking, popular, your basic nightmare of a guy to have a crush on when you are an introverted, shy, unpopular girl like I was. After high school he went off to college and got married, but then showed up at the U of U when I was working in the bookstore. He had just gone through a difficult divorce and we talked a little over the few months we worked together. Then I never heard anything about him until I got this phone call from my Mom. When someone your age dies, especially when you are 38 and trying to get your head around the idea that you are now middle aged, you take it hard. At least I did. Scott and I were never close (except maybe in my adolescent fantasies), but he was part of my upbringing, and he was no longer on the planet. I looked up his obituary in the local paper and found out he had kept a blog called Do Not Go Gentle referring to the Dylan Thomas poem. Turns out that he had used it to chronicle the last part of his life, and it was extremely powerful, not only because it detailed what it was like for him living with cancer, but also because I could hear his voice; speaking after he was gone, living on after him. I was really moved by it, and I have to say it was one of the main reasons that I wanted to start a blog. I finally did it I think because I am all too soon turning 40 and realized that hey, I might not be around forever. Maybe I'm the only one who will ever read this (along with those I force to), but I'd like to think it will go on after me, and someday that it may inspire someone the way Scott's blog inspired me.


slarry said...

Thank you for remembering and writing about my brother so eloquently and with such fondness.
His diagnosis and death, will always haunt me.
A life and light that left this world far too soon.
I miss him constantly.
And on this, one of our first gray, windy Fall days,
I was already feeling melancholy and a little sad,
Your post helped brighten my day.
Thank you for that.

Scott lived a purposeful and determined life,
even when he was in unimaginable pain,
he still got out of bed every morning, looking for ways to make the world a better, more peaceful place.

I don't think I know you--
You are so right: BLOGS are POWERFUL.

I hope this finds you and your family well.
Thank you again for your kind and thoughtful words.


Sheri Swaner, Salt Lake City

Christian said...

I think we all struggle to "make sense" of our lives. We narrate our stories to organize our experiences and hopefully find some sense in it all. (Like you, Laura, this is part of why I started a blog--to try to understand what the heck I'm doing.) Thanks for sharing the link to your friend's blog; I don't know how some people have such courage.