Tuesday, January 8, 2013

In memory of William Boncher - Part 1

My father, like everyone, had a unique way of doing things.  We will never know what caused his pancreatic cancer and the glioblastoma brain cancer that took his life. Was it the aspartame in the Kool-aid he drank for 30 years? The dried milk powder? His inability to drink plain water? (Yes, he had a dislike of plain water and always drank flavored beverages.) Radiation exposure? The chemicals he came in contact with when he built his two dream houses? The vitamin supplements he religiously took to stay healthy? Or some something else entirely that he had no control over? Reading The Emporer of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer made me realize it is incredibly complicated--and there is no simple explanation--no smoking gun that we know of today.

Like all of us, he had healthy and unhealthy habits--but he was, in a way, at 70, the picture of health. Before he was diagnosed with cancer, he was not on a single prescription medication and he had been retired for over 20 years. The whole thing has turned my world upside down. My confidence has been replaced by uncertainty and a realization of our powerlessness. My grandmother who drank martinis and ate cheetos lived until 95. My father who looked so young, with such a youthful spirit, died from cancer at 71. It doesn't seem fair or reasonable. But, sadly, that is life. Unpredictable. Uncertain. Tragic. I can only remember and treasure the time we had together. And his unique way of doing things.