But it’s not because I didn’t like him. I actually loved the guy, as much as one can love an actor one doesn’t know personally. I thought he was great, sexy, funny, a man’s man and a woman’s heartthrob. I don’t have a bad word to say about him.
But I still want the world to stop throwing his death in my face. Stop Facebook RIP’ing him, stop Twittering “Oh I’m so sad,” stop moaning, “Hope you’re dirty dancing in heaven,” and stop reminiscing about how he saved all us “Babies” from languishing in corners.
Because Patrick Swayze had the same kind of cancer my mom was diagnosed with two years ago.
And, selfishly, I just don’t want to be reminded of how lethal, how brutal, pancreatic cancer can be. My mom’s still here, still doing well, but every time we lose someone like Swayze or Randy Pausch, I feel a horrible pang of mortality. “Shut up, shut up, shut up!” I want to scream.
So today, I’m unable to be a rational, reasonable person and see people’s outpourings of grief for the normal expressions of emotion they are. I’m only thinking about myself, my own fears, my own needs. I’m not giving the man his due. It’s a bit of an ethical fail on my part, I’ll admit. Instead of kvetching about Swayze mourners, I ought to be using the opportunity to call for further cancer research, though I’m sure there are no lack of calls for that already.
So, if I’m touchy on this subject, I apologize. And I think I’d better stay off the social media networks for a while, until the flurry of remembrances dies down.
The (perhaps underdeveloped) gracious part of me does want to have a say here, however, so here goes:
RIP, you handsome devil. I truly enjoyed your work, I pray your passing wasn’t too difficult, and I’ll keep your family in my thoughts. And for everyone out there afflicted with this awful illness, my solidarity lies with you. Perhaps the best, most ethical way to behave in moments like these is to form a chain of support, not hole up in our individual misery the way I’ve been doing.
Thoughts? Advice? More “Baby-in-the-corner” reminiscences you just can’t help throwing my way?