Friday, March 23, 2007

There Are No Humans Left

My aunt died last night. She died of cancer of the lymph nodes. We knew it was going to happen because she had decided to stop treatment. She first got diagnosed with Hodgkin's about five years ago. She beat it...with the help of a stem cell transplant!...but it came back. She did a couple of rounds of chemo, but she made it clear that if those rounds didn't make a significant dent, she wasn't going to fight it.

They didn't make a dent.

We just didn't expect it to happen so fast. It was only about three months ago when she told us the cancer was back and only six weeks from when she made the decision to stop fighting. Of course, my aunt is was famous for being extremely private about information that you would think her family would want to know, so we will never know how far the cancer progressed before she decided to tell her sister and brother. No one except her husband knew she had cancer the first time until it was in remission for a year.

I wasn't close to my aunt. I had issues with some of the choices she made regarding our family. My mom says the reason is we were like oil and water was because we were so alike. I don't doubt it. Regardless, she was my mom's only sister, and with her death my uncle is the only one left of those my mom grew up with. My mom is only in her early 50s. My aunt was only in her mid-60s.

So my mom and I are in the process of trying to get down to Atlanta to attend the memorial service. I do the usual web search for cheap flights....yeah, not so cheap. Then I look into bereavement fares. I call US Airways, wait for 20 minutes to speak to a real person, just to be told that they no longer "do" bereavement fares. I was in shock! They make no accommodations for people who have to travel to bury their family. Feel free to write them angry emails. I then go to Delta's website and they say they have "no need" for bereavement fares because they have some special deal where last minute flights are already very cheap. The thing is...they're not. Not at all.

Luckily, my financial life is strong enough that I can pay for a flight without using my credit card, but the fact that these airlines don't even make a nominal gesture for those grieving is outrageous. I could barely stand to hear them cry poor to begin I really have no patience for that crap.

Human beings may be overpopulating the Earth, but humanity is dying fast.

On another note, I realized this morning that three members of my mom's family have died of cancer. That side of the family isn't that big. And yet, when I see all the commercials and stories about cancer, I never take them personally. Perhaps because I don't think they are talking to me. I'm realizing perhaps I have the impression that least the cancer they talk about in a white disease. The black community doesn't die of cancer in the media. It dies of...gunshot wounds, drug overdoses. Or it lives to a ripe old age to give words of wisdom to "lost souls," usually white lost souls.

But cancer is a big part of my family history. Hmmm...I gotta think about this some more.

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