Goodbye, Derek

Like so many people, today I am mourning the loss of Derek K. Miller. Derek passed away from cancer yesterday and, at his request, his final blog posting was published by his family and friends after his death.

I mentioned Derek here on my blog a little while ago when I wrote about going to his Living Wake. Knowing that he didn’t have long to live, Derek and Airdrie hosted this event so that everyone could celebrate Derek’s incredible life and let him know how much he meant to us all, while he was still alive to hear it. It was a beautiful night, full of friends of his from all aspects of his life – family, people he went to school with, people he knew from his music and his writing, and those of us who knew him through his blogging and his podcasting. The best part of the evening, in my opinion, was that Derek got to perform one last time with his band, The Neurotics. Not long before his Living Wake, Derek had written about how he loved to play live music and watching him up on that stage playing the drums, it really showed. As I watched him play, there was a look on his face that I can only describe as peace and contentment. That is how I want to remember Derek.

I also want to remember Derek for his openness, his honesty, his kindness, and his positivity. He generously shared his experience of having cancer with the world through his blog and, based on the many, many comments he received, his words touched the lives of people around the globe.

This afternoon, CBC Radio re-played an interview that Derek did with them last November and in it he talked about why he chose not to be angry, saying, “What good is that going to do? What kind of person is that going to turn me into? Is that the kind of person I want to have been at the end of my life?” Even in the face of his own death at such a young age, he was an extremely positive person – something that I find truly inspirational. In his final blog posting, he wrote:

The world, indeed the whole universe, is a beautiful, astonishing, wondrous place. There is always more to find out. I don’t look back and regret anything, and I hope my family can find a way to do the same.

These are words to heed, people. Get out there and enjoy the beautiful, astonishing, wondrous world. Be positive, be kind, have fun. Like Derek did.

Bart, Beth, Tanya, Miranda, Monica, Derek

Derek and I chatting at Tanya’s going away party at Miranda & Riley’s.

Tanya's farewell party at Miranda's and Reilly's

Derek, Airdrie, me, and Tanya.

Derek leaves behind his wife, Airdrie, and two awesome daughters, Marina and Lauren, and his parents, Karl and Hilkka. Airdrie, you are an amazing woman – your strength, grace, and kindness in the face of something that is worse than anything I could imagine are inspiring. I wish you and the girls didn’t have to go through this. I love you all very much.

Image Credits: Photos posted by Raul on Flickr.

In addition to his final blog posting, which I highly suggest that you read, as it’s one of the most moving things I’ve ever, ever read in my life, there’s also an article about him in The Province and one in the Vancouver Sun.

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