Another Passing. One On Deck.
T.S. Eliot called April "the cruelest month". April 2013 certainly lived up to that reputation for me and even came with a follow-up kick in early May. I previously wrote about the death of my co-worker April 1. Turns out that was only the first death notice.
Not long after my co-worker died, my friend Mel was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had metastasized to his lung. His prognosis is six to 12 months. Mel is almost 83 and beat several cancers in his 60's so he is pretty mellow about his fate. He calls himself lucky. I am lucky to have known him for the past nine years. He's been good company and, as a retired attorney, a valuable and sometimes iconoclastic legal resource. Had I not met Mel, I may not have ended up in Olympia. His son's connection to this town that brought me here. Maggie and I are taking the opportunity to enjoy his company while we can.
That was April.
May began with another death. Ken Schwilk's died May 8. Ken is a fellow Veteran For Peace, a charter member of the Rachel Corrie VFP Chapter 109 here in Olympia and Camera 1 on the studio crew for the chapter's cable access television program, "The Veterans Hour". Ken served in Vietnam in the late 60's. Here in Olympia he has been a consistent and vocal advocate for peace. I am honored to have served with Ken as a veteran for peace.
Ken's death was sudden; most of us learned of a possible cancer diagnosis only in late April. I saw him mid-March and can't say that I noticed anything at all. Maggie thought less color maybe. He performed in an annual musical production in February. And now he is gone at 68.
Aside from Vietnam and VFP, Ken and I had the shared experience of living in Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia. As a regional manager his territory covered the southern portions of Piedmont Virginia where I grew up. We both knew the routes and landscape of that region.