McCain and other losses

Posted: September 3, 2018 in Uncategorized

A nation desperately in need of a hero gave Senator John McCain a heartfelt sendoff after his death last week of primary glioblastoma, a cancer of the brain that is very aggressive and quickly took his life.

McCain was a public servant of the first rank, and we owe him a final thank-you for showing us once again how the finest facets of citizenship in our country can sparkle. As he has throughout his life, the naval aviator still shows us a path through parlous times.

Through all the pomp and ceremony, my mind occasionally drifted to others whose lives were shortened by this particular  cancer. Another stalwart of democracy, Ted Kennedy, died of the same cancer several years ago. But I’m thinking about other victims — more common but just as significant in our local lives and just as heroic in their struggle with the brain disease.

Danny Fetzer, the brother of my longtime friend Marie Bryant, came into our life after his diagnosis two or three years ago, and we supported him in small ways as he sought treatments at Duke University hospital. We felt for his family when at last the tumor took him.

Most personal to me was the death of Alan Seneker, one of my Alumni Dorm mates from Carson-Newman College and one of my housemates when he was an exhibit designer at the Cheekwood art museum in Nashville. Al was an artist extraordinaire whose creativity finally found a niche (that could barely contain him) in Knox County schools, where he was a legendary art teacher and mentor. There are few times that I don’t mourn the fact that he is no longer with us.

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