If you read this blog regularly, you know that I am a Huge "Doctor Who" fan, and have been since I was a kid. Today there has been some very sad news: Elisabeth Sladen, who joined the show in the early 70's, has passed away from cancer at the age of 63. She played one of the most popular companions, Sarah Jane Smith. She made a number of guest appearances on the revamped version of the show, and then had her own spin-off, "The Sarah Jane Adventures," which was geared toward younger kids.
I was watching some clips from that show last week. I had no idea she was sick. I didn't know her personally, had never met her, but she was a big part of my childhood, in a way. She was also married with a daughter, and I can only imagine how much they are hurting.
A few years ago Ron Silver died from cancer. He was also in his mid-sixties, and another talented actor. And, of course, I think about my dad. I think about this horrible disease that takes so many people, way before their time, and robs families of loved ones. How unfair it is and, yes, I realize life is unfair, but cancer seems to be on a scale that is just so cosmically huge, and it's so prevalent, it sometimes seems like a modern plague.
And I hate it.
(Of course, I don't know anyone who LIKES cancer.)
So what is it? Lifestyle? The fact that we now live so much longer than we used to? The chemicals and pollutants we ingest all our lives? Stress? All of the above? NONE of the above?
I lost my maternal grandmother to cancer: she was tremendously stressed out about her son, my uncle, who was suffering from mental illness (and ended up committing suicide, but after she and my grandfather were gone). My dad was the kind of guy who worried about everyone and everything all the time. His folks both had heart disease, so he and his doctors were vigilant about heart health, but no one imagined he'd get Melanoma. My mom had a bout of breast cancer: luckily it was caught early and she's free and clear.
My B-I-L's dad died from cancer.
Our dog Tundra died from cancer. And now our dog Luna may have cancer in her bladder.
And it all makes me so completely pissed off!
Because even when people survive, there's always the chance it could come back. I know this should be telling me that life is precious, the unexpected happens, and we should all live each day to the fullest. And all of that is true. But when I hear about another person dying from cancer, or diagnosed with cancer, I just want to scream and throw things.
Two nights ago I dreamed about my dad. Last night I dreamed about my high school drama teacher, who also passed away a few years ago. I don't know what it means, but I hope that they're coming to me from a beautiful, peaceful place. I hope the message is that death is not to be feared. It doesn't mean it hurts any less to lose people, but maybe if they ARE in a wonderful place, it makes it better. Just a little bit.
At least, I hope so.