Monday, June 24, 2013

SF Memorial--Save the Date

A memorial celebration of Eric's life will be held on August 4, 2013 in San Francisco.  Details of time and place will follow soon. Please hold the date and plan to join friends and family to commemorate Eric's life.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Those of you who follow this blog may also have been facebook friends with Eric.  If so, you will have seen the many posts on his timeline sharing memories of Eric's life and the ways he inspired others.

Friends of Eric's have set up a tumblr space outside of fb for those who knew Eric to post memories, pictures, videos, etc. If you haven't used tumblr it's very easy to use, just set up a username and they will email you to confirm, "follow" Eric's page, then you're good to post your memories and thoughts on the site.

Check out the links on the top of the tumblr page, there will be info updated about a planned memorial service for Eric in the Bay Area in August, and there is a list of charities Eric was involved with if you are moved to make a donation in his name. There are also instructions on how to send pictures for use in a slideshow at the memorial service.

Special thanks to Adrian for setting this up. Please pass this along and encourage others to participate~and if you posted to Eric's fb page, we would be grateful if you would re-post to the tumblr site so that we can collect these memories in one place.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I write with heavy heart

Eric passed away early this morning, peacefully, in his sleep, with family by his side.

He was, as I've written in the last few posts, ready to go, and his end was mercifully quick.  For that, we are all thankful.

Eric wished to donate his remains to research and education, and we have honored those wishes, in hopes that the cancer researchers at UCSF will be able to glean information from the study of his tumor that might one day lead to the discovery of an effective treatment for future glioblastoma multiforme patients.  Nothing would make Eric happier than to know that he could contribute to scientific progress even in death.

A funeral service will be held in Michigan on Tuesday June 18 at 2 pm at the Dorfman Chapel in Farmington Hills; those wishing to attend should check the chapel website for details.  Plans are also in the works for a memorial service in San Francisco later this summer.

To all of Eric's friends who have been following this blog and have shared your warm thoughts and wishes and support over the last four years:  thank you for being there with him and with us.  He was a lucky man to have such a loving community of friends.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Just a quick update to let folks know how Eric is doing. Mom, brother Bil and I (big sis) arrived last night. Over the weekend, Eric was able to "virtually" participate with the rest of the family in Nicolas's coming of age ceremony and enjoy a nice dinner with friends. On Monday, he stopped taking steroids. When we arrived Monday night, we brought his favorite Michigan meal (a "make it larger" Olga sandwich) and a piece of homemade chocolate cake. He devoured these and we talked and hugged and he went to sleep. Today he has slept all day--rousing slightly to take some meds, but not eating or doing anything else. He seems very relaxed and peaceful and does not seem to be in any pain.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rage, rage, against the dying of the light...

Several months ago I was reminded of Dylan Thomas's famous poem "Do not go gentle into that good night" when thinking about Eric's attitude toward the fast-approaching end to his own life.  Eric wanted, in fact, to go as gentle as possible; he seemed, in the last few months, to have come to peaceful terms with the awful hand he'd been dealt, and worried more about how hard it would be for us to have to lose him than for him to go.  "I'll be gone," he'd say, "I won't have to deal with it."  I think we all  were inspired by his brave reconciliation to the cessation of his life.  He wasn't interested in fighting death for every last second of life, as Thomas urges his dying father to do in his poem; he wanted quality of life or none at all, and hoped, above all, not to live for a prolonged period with the terrible disabilities that the tumor might produce.

The disease doesn't pay much mind to it's victims' wishes, unfortunately; and Eric is now in a place he never wanted to be.  His functioning has deteriorated greatly over the last couple of weeks.  He has to exert enormous effort to stand up -- his right side is completely numb, and doesn't seem to obey his mind's commands; when I observed to him that it looked as if his limbs felt like they were encased in a suit of armor made of lead he said that this was exactly how it felt to try to move.  Walking is precarious and slow, and he uses a wheelchair if he needs to go more than about ten feet.  He is often disoriented and has enormous difficulty finding the words he needs to communicate his thoughts, feelings, and needs. The steroids he is taking to lessen the inflammation in his brain give him a ravenous appetite, and he eats an astonishing amount at each meal -- which also means he has put on quite a bit of weight.  He may not be interested heeding Thomas's command to "burn and rave at close of day," but the steroids in his body make him perversely hungry for sustenance.  They also make him emotionally volatile and quick to anger and frustration, although when friends come to visit he perks up and reverts to his old charming, witty, sly self.  His sense of humor is as sharp as ever, and when he's rested he can pull some amazing facts and stories out of his memory.

He is in need, at this point, of company 24/7, to keep him safe and to help him take care of his daily needs.  He is still able to do many things on his own, but everything that we all take for granted takes him enormous effort and energy.  He spends a good deal of the day sleeping -- we joked when I was just there that he's on a dog's schedule:  that is, a day full of power naps punctuated by meals, pee breaks, and "play time" with friends.

It became pretty clear over the last week that the trip to Michigan was not going to be possible in the condition he's currently in, so we will be skyping with him over the weekend so that he can participate virtually in his nephew's coming-of-age ceremony. After the weekend, family will return to SF to be with him.  We know we are seeing the dying of the light now, and we'll be at his side, giving what comfort and support we can to help him go as gently as he hoped he would.