Last month I wrote to you about Miles Levin (Schlagbyte, July 16, 2007), an 18-year-old young man living with an unremitting malignancy. Since I was introduced to Miles, I have followed his precocious wisdom on his care pages postings. Over the last month when no therapy was effective, he still managed, in spite of pain, to connect with his growing number of readers. He brought us into his life and connected us to him and to each other; he taught us the difference between healing and curing. He told us what it was like to live life every day. He showed how to make new connections, and in so doing made his death a healing ceremony.
A month before his death, he went away to a camp exclusively for boys with cancer. He said totally contrary to what you might expect at the camp, it had nonstop energy with vitality bursting from its victims. Miles said the best part of being there was “Everybody here gets it, and that’s not something you can experience with your regular friends.”
On his return from the camp, he wrote without a working treatment plan, “My time left is probably two to five weeks….I’m trying to relax, I know I’ve fought my very best and now it’s up to greater powers, whether they be divine or forces of nature. I find myself altering between feelings of gratitude for all that my life has been, and wishing to trade it all for a normal, obscure teenage existence.”
On August 3rd, nearing the end, Miles said “I know I’ll never be happy with this update because there’s no way to say thank you it’s so huge but not to try to say it would be worse. It’s a stupid system, but the only way to fully understand what you have is by losing it therefore luckily for me that’s something I will never know…. I am blessed to be enveloped in the love that I will never lose.”
On August 7th, he wrote “This isn’t going to be much of the crowd pleaser. I’m getting worse pretty quickly. I wish I could offer better news, I really do, and all I can say is thank you. Thank you for your ongoing support of me and my family through this most difficult time.”
On Aug. 9th, his mother wrote “Have received word that the spaceship is on its way. Miles is packed and ready to go……He told me this morning that this process requires lots of patience…The house is quiet….I pray he drifts away in peace, he deserves that.”
Farewell Miles. A while ago you said, “It’s not dying I’m afraid of; it’s dying without having had an impact.” No worry, thanks to you and your loving family, you brought a whole community together, reminded us to live in the present and to make every day so beautiful that it will be worth remembering. You have shown us the difference between healing and curing; you can heal and be healed even if you are not cured. You have made your dying a healing ceremony for us who remain.