I apologize for my recent absence here at E-Nirv. Growing blogs isn’t easy, and I’d be lying if I said I’d been putting forth my best effort of late. I hope to change that in the coming days.

Still, I’d like to share a bit of news with you about my personal life. Last week, my father died from an extremely short bout with cancer. The entire process of him initially checking into the hospital complaining of nausea and weakness, to the eventual diagnosis, to his death was less than one month.

When something this monumentally devastating happens to you, there certainly is a lot of sadness to go around. But with that sadness came moments of levity, love, and most of all, peace.

Below I’ve pasted an e-mail that I’d sent to friends and family several hours before he died. I hope you will get something from it and pass it on….

“I want to first apologize for any rambling I may do in this e-mail. I’ll try to keep this short, but people usually say that just before they launch into a Tolstoy-esque correspondence. I’m writing mainly because I feel a need to say something to the family and friends who I have had the fortune of being part of my life. If you feel like moving on to the next e-mail, undoubtedly some spam about earning $250,000 a week, I’ll understand.

To put it succinctly, I’m here with my family in my home town area of Rochester, New York. I’d like to say that the first family reunion we’ve all had in about 3 years is a happy occasion. Sadly, it isn’t. My father is dying of cancer. He is on hospice care at the hospital and could go at any time. He is being heavily medicated and closely watched, so he isn’t in pain anymore.

This all happened very quickly. While on vacation in Hawaii, my wife Nicole and I phoned my parents to see how they were doing. My mother let us know that my father had gone into the hospital complaining of weakness and nausea. He soon went home after a couple of days, and we thought a visit to the doctor and a change in medication were all that were required.

Upon our return home (literally 45 minutes after we sat down), Nicole and I received a call from Mom saying that Dad was back in the hospital with the same symptoms, yet much more severe. We drove up from New Jersey that night.

The following couple of weeks were as difficult as any I’ve experienced. We discovered that my father’s liver was covered with spots and full of cancer. There were many ups and downs, which for brevity’s sake I’ll leave out, but we were soon given the final diagnosis, my father would pass in less than four weeks.

He took the news hard, as we all did. Feelings of anger co-mingled with guilt, sorrow, anguish, and grief. From the initial call to my Mom on May 25, here we sit on June 22; and I have no reason to think that he will be alive tomorrow.

It hasn’t been all sorrow. We’ve had some moments of levity, time for reminiscing, visits from old friends, new friends, and family long thought to have drifted out of our lives.

Losing my father at only 63 is tough. He had retired and was waiting for my Mom to do the same in less than 2 years. They had many plans and dreams they wanted to accomplish together. Those things aren’t to be.

I tell you these things not to elicit sympathy, well-wishes, or prayers; though those are certainly appreciated.

I want to tell you how happy I am.

I’ve been given a wonderful gift. The gift of time.

Although this has only been a month, and the end is coming very swiftly now, we as a family have had the invaluable chance to say our goodbyes. I can’t tell you, as draining as it has been, how great it has been for each of us to tell him what he means to us, as well as each other.

Not everyone gets that chance. Accidents, crimes, or any of the other infinite circumstances of life so many times take away that opportunity, prevent that moment.

Ok, so here it is. The reason I’m writing (typing) to you all.

Tell your loved ones what they mean to you. Tell them every day if you can. Tell those who’ve drifted out of your life for whatever reason that you care, even if the sentiment isn’t returned.

The long and short of it is I know we can all think of a million reasons why we don’t need to do it, why we should put it off, why it somehow won’t make a difference. There’s only one reason to do it, but that one trumps the other million a million times over. It’s the reason we’re here, to love those around us, especially those closest to us. I have to catch myself sometimes when it seems as though I occasionally treat strangers better than my family. I somehow think, “well, they know how I feel,” or “they’ll still be here, they’re not going anywhere”. Perhaps you know what I’m talking about, maybe you don’t. Maybe you make it a point of hugging your husband every day, kissing your son or daughter and telling them you love them, calling your Mom or Dad every week to catch up or say what an impact they’ve had on your life. If so, I look forward to learning from you, as I hope some of the rest of us will.

The small things don’t matter. The petty disagreements are just that, petty. Meaningless. If we’re lucky, we live 70+ years. That seems like a long time, and it is. But it passes in the blink of an eye in many ways. They say our perception of time quickens as we get older. Where an hour seemed interminable when we were six, I can now lose my train of thought and misplace the better part of a day.

I’m sorry for the rambling (though I did warn you). I’ve made it a point not to bring religion into this, though if you are a person of faith, that can help immeasurably as well.

There’s nothing as precious, yet sometimes as punishing, as time and its passage. It’s there for you right now, use it.

I’ve lost touch with many of you, for any one of those million reasons. I hope you’d like to reconnect; if so, write back. If not, thank you for being there. I hope I was there for you too.

If you feel led to pass this on to others, feel free. If this hasn’t connected with you, I apologize. If it has, please use the gift of time to share your love with those you care about.

Thank you all for listening.