There were two items of news today.  One was very sad and the other made me happier, though I almost feel guilty about being pleased with it because it’s comparatively insignificant.  I’ll start with that one because it would just feel awkward to go the other way.

Today’s good news is that Kyle Singler has decided to stay for his fourth year at Duke.  That’s awesome news.  Duke would be a really good team, preseason top 5-10 I’d estimate, without him.  With him, Duke’s got to be preseason #1 with as decent a shot at winning the title as any other team in the country, which would mean a repeat.  It’s going to be hard to temper expectations next year.

It’s a shame, because part of what made watching Duke basketball so fun this year was that while they were definitely a really good team, nobody honestly expected them to do as well as they did.  Losses (for the most part) didn’t sting as bad.  But now every loss will be hard because they’ll be expected to be one of the best in the country next year.  Not that I am, in any way, complaining.  It’s great that we’ll get to watch Kyle Singler play another year at Duke.

So now the sad news.  I learned about a year ago that an old friend of mine, Jon Fisher, a guy I’d known since sixth grade but had lost touch with in college, had a very young son who had gotten very ill.  I learned today (oddly enough, on the Duke message board’s off-topic forum, where someone had read the story and was so moved by that they shared a news article about it) that Jon’s son, Cameron, had died over the weekend.

It’s just so heartbreaking to read through all their ups and downs.  So many of their entries start on a positive note about how Cameron was doing better or was stronger.  I can’t imagine the turmoil they went through, and ultimately making the decision they made… I mean I’m just about in tears putting myself in their position, going through what they went through and losing what they lost.  It’s unimaginable, because to really imagine it is just too painful.

God bless Jon and Laura, and God bless Cameron, who is no longer suffering.

I told Amanda that they had lost their baby, and we hugged Milly extra tight tonight.  It puts things in perspective.  What’s the point of working until 9:00 (like I did tonight) if you don’t get to spend time with your family, you know?  I look at all the things I hope for and worry about and look forward to in Milly’s future, and I just can’t imagine not having that anymore.

Aside from a phone call I gave Jon after learning of the situation, I haven’t talked to him or seen him in years.  In fact, I think the last time I did see him was at the wedding of Kelia and John Pless in March of 2004 (and if I remember correctly, they met through Jon).  Jon’s parents used to live up the street (literally- it was on a steep hill) from my grandparents, and I used to go to their house after school when I was in middle school, so I’d see and play with Jon a good bit of the time.  Anyway, because it’s been so long since I’ve talked to Jon I feel a little weird about this being on my mind so sharply.  I mean, it’s tragic, no doubt at all, but I almost feel like feeling so much when I’m so far from connected to it is me being phony.  Does that make sense?

Thinking on it more deeply though, I think it’s that, having happened to someone I knew and grew up with, it makes it real.  It makes it a possibility that it could happen to me, you know?  I’ve never personally been hit with any major tragedies in my life (losing grandparents, though painful, isn’t unexpected, afterall), and though I know it’s not the case I still feel like I’m at least mostly impervious to Terrible Things.  But this shows that that’s not true.  And aside from that, knowing now firsthand what feelings a parent has for their child, all stories of losing a kid to an incurable illness (or to anything else really) hit a lot closer to home now.  The fact that this story actually was, if you will, close to home, impacts it all the more.

I just pray that Jon, Laura and the rest of the family can find peace and comfort in the fact that Cameron is no longer suffering.  God be with all of you.

Zach Dotsey