I learned this morning from my family that my young cousin Phillip, who’d been spending the last three years fighting stage 4 cancer, has passed away. His father relayed the news as well to the page on CaringBridge.org as well as to the Superheroes for Phillip community on Facebook.
Cancer has attacked my family multiple times, including myself, my mother, another of my uncles (not Phillip’s father), and Phillip himself. Phillip has been the second cancer death in my family that I personally know about–the first being my mother–and Phillip’s is hard. He was 21 when he got diagnosed with what’s usually a childhood cancer, but which presented all kinds of nasty challenges for him because he’d just made it into adulthood. I could only read about it on the CaringBridge site, since that branch of the family is on the opposite side of the country from me. He had a nasty neuroblastoma, which kept coming back for more no matter how many times they put that boy through chemo and radiation.
The family had tried to put the best of faces on it by nicknaming his cancer ‘Bill’, with the obligatory ‘Kill Bill’ jokes, and more recently they’d set up the Superheroes for Phillip page on Facebook since Phillip drew a lot of inspiration from Superman. I didn’t have a Supes shirt but I did borrow Paul’s Green Lantern shirt and posted there to him, with a pic of me in that shirt.
And now… goddammit.
There are times I regret being on the opposite side of the country from my family, and this is one of those times. I never knew Phillip, really. But I do know what it’s like to fight cancer, fortunate though I’ve been in my own relatively easy battles–I’ve never made it past stage 0. And I do know his parents, and my heart is aching for them now.
RIP Phillip. I hope that wherever you are now, you can fly just like Superman.
ETA: Here, because Appropriate Song is Appropriate–I’ll be singing this for Phillip today.