Wednesday, June 4, 2014

We get by with a little help from our friends.

There is a man named Dov Siporin.  I asked him to be my best friend the first time I wrote to him.

He said yes.

Dov has been dying for 7 years now.  We all have, I suppose…but Dov has been told he’s been dying for 7 years now.  He has beaten the odds over and over again, and through his fight he has found the antithesis of it all by living.

Living louder and more boldly and with more love and vigor than anyone I have ever known.

* He dresses up in costumes on chemo days and hands out candy to all of those receiving infusions. 

* He has colon cancer and wrote on is a** with invisible paint that lit up during radiation.  "Does this radiation make my butt look fat?"

* He’s ran marathons.

* He has two children, one who has Type 1 Diabetes.

* For his birthday, on Dov's request, people all around the world gave cupcakes to those who needed a boost.

* He dressed up as the grim reaper and brought foam swords to the chemo ward so people could beat him up.

* He’s been in the newspaper, on the news, in magazines…everywhere…written by people inspired by his larger than life smile.

He reached out to me the day Ryan passed away, and then again, and again after that.  As he has cancer, the thought of someday leaving his family weighs on him.  Reading my words feels like he is glimpsing into his wife’s future after he is gone.  Because I'm making it through, he finds hope his wife will too.

And his words?  Struggling with the thoughts of death…The love for his family…What inspires him to smile and keep fighting?  It’s everything Ryan thought, and couldn’t say.  When I read his words, I feel like I’m reading Ryan’s journal.  His deepest thoughts.  Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t be reading them.  Like I’m invading Ryan’s privacy.

He sent me this a few months after Ryan passed away.  He wrote it for his wife, but it made it to my inbox because the fates wanted me to read it too.  Almost like Ryan stretched one hand to Dov and the other to me and created this bridge. 

Some words for a lonely moment

There will be times, many of them,
When the loneliness presses in against you with sharp edges

When the hollowness hurts

When tears burn, and there is only a deep knot that
clenches and clenches.

Or when there is only an ache,

a mere memory of something that used to be there.

Or when you turn to share a stray thought or a joke,
and find an empty chair,

a wide expanse of couch,

a strangers face looking at you across a cup of coffee.
and yet,

Here I sit, remnants of my hair still wet with the cold fall rain,

the sounds of Tom Petty fading in my ears.

My lap is still warm from where you curled up tight against me

and wrapped my arm around you, confident that it would continue

How can I say I’m sorry? How can I reach out, across the days, the months, the decades of absence?  How can I hold you in these arms of too, too solid flesh?

Though I want, I cannot.

I can only offer a few words, a few tears.  Black lines on a page. The memory of something that once was.

And though it is not fair, though it is not enough, it will have to be; this echo of love carved onto the white expanse, this memory of warmth and safety.

Our relationship is impossibly complicated and at the same time purely simple in its origin.

Somehow we help each other.

And I love him and his wife in a way that can’t be defined.  They are part of my puzzle.

All of this to say there is a giant fundraiser in Utah for his family coming up next month.  In true Dov fashion, costumes are involved…and fun.  A ton of fun.

If you are in Utah on Thursday June 12, please participate in the Howl at the Moon Costume Fun Run for Dov.  It's going to be a fundraiser of epic proportions, for a family that could not be more worthy of the love and adulation.  

I love you Dov and Tara!  I wish I could be there to tear up the course with you!  

Until we meet again, friends...


  1. This has left me speechless. Thank you for sharing with us.

  2. The first time I read it, I was in tears. You are a good person, an amazing woman, and a true friend. Love you Meri.


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