Self

Remember the Stories of Those Who Left Too Soon

They are reminders of your duty to your health and those you love.

Sean Kernan
5 min readFeb 17, 2024

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Uncle Jeff and Me at my grandpa’s house circa 1992. Note the old boom box in the background.

I was 19 when I got a troubling message from my friend, Ellen. We’d spent a ton of time around each other’s families over the years. Her mom and dad were like a second set of parents, and had watched over me during the summers.

“My dad is sick,” she said.

“…how sick?” I replied, already concerned, knowing she wouldn’t send such a concise message without due cause.

“He’s dying.”

It took several moments to process what Ellen said. And then she explained it. Her father, Dave, was feeling weak for several months, getting lightheaded when he walked or exerted himself. They couldn’t figure out why. Finally, after several doctor visits, they discovered Dave had stage 4 colon cancer. It had spread to his liver and lungs. Doctors gave him six months to live. The diagnosis hit the family like a bomb, understandably.

Dave was in his early-50s and in otherwise great health beforehand. He rarely drank and never smoked. He’d been a college track athlete, with a 100 meter dash time that rivals many NFL players. He transitioned into running marathons in his 40s. Yet in the coming weeks and months, he…

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Sean Kernan

Writer and writing instructor. Always on the hunt for a good story. That guy from Quora. Writing out of Tampa, Florida.