It’s already been a week since my younger cousin passed away.
His big dream growing up was to become a professional skateboarder. He was already sponsored and competing in his early teens. Unfortunately, an accident at age 18 resulted in the amputation of most of his foot and he was unable to continue in the sport. It took a while to get his head on straight after that, but he figured it out eventually. In 2015, he moved to Toronto to start his fashion career. Things were finally looking up.
Then he got cancer.
Last year he was diagnosed with cancer of the face, which was found only because he thought he had an abscessed tooth and went to the dentist. It wasn’t abscessed though and they treated the sore in his mouth as an infection. Luckily the dentist sent it for testing, and it turned out to be cancer. (GO SEE YOUR DENTIST)
They caught it just in time, and when they were able to surgically remove the tumor, summer 2018, we all thought he had dodged a bullet.
But it came back last month.
In February, they found a small spot on his lungs – “squamous cell” cancer they called it. But, no one knew how aggressive it would be. He went from walking around with an occasional cough to a collapsed lung and cancer in his bones in just 3 weeks. He was gone in just over 4 weeks.
On March 18, at age 28, my cousin passed away.
I was lucky enough to spend some time with him before he left us. I bugged him with dozens of questions, trying to preserve as much of him as I could. One of the questions I asked him was if there was one thing he would tell his younger self. At first, he joked about not getting in the accident but when pressed he said, “to not care so much about what people think.”
He also said our grandmother, who passed away March 2006 and was a very devout Catholic, would probably try to wash away the tattoos on his face when he saw her. The afterlife is going to be interesting with those two in it.
I’ll miss him.