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Monday, May 03, 2010


For him, it was the onions. Death from pancreatic cancer was too much for his mind to grasp, and the onions were a more immediate scapegoat, an easier way to explain the pain, the nausea, the confusion. "No onions," he said when I made him dinner. "That's what started this all."

The treatment made him diabetic, and she seized upon the new menu like a game plan, these simple measures undertaken as a hail mary pass against cancer's imposing offense, barely a dent made as the disease continued unchecked. But it was the only defense they had, and so they memorized the menu and wielded that paltry shield as the cancer marched on.

You could have called it a David-versus-Goliath battle if there was ever a battle fought. Instead it was more of an inevitable submission, a surrender. There was no chance against the great disease and we - at least those of us of the internet age - knew it. They may not have understood the inevitability or may have found it easier not to understand; it made no difference which. They did not understand, not until the end.


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