Last week the world lost a great man. He was a father, husband, animal lover, genuinely a kind human being, and so much more. He wasn't a member of my family but he was a friend. Don Sforza passed away the beginning of this week in the presence of those he loved. He fought a long battle with Leukemia and beat it TWICE. He was completely devoted to his family, friends, and pets. I met him when I first started working at my clinic. As their kitties got older and had a few ailments I came on board to force feed, medicate, and pet sit as needed. A few times that I came to their home to feed the kitties they had company: A neighbor and friend, their daughter (who I also know thru the clinic) and her husband. I was invited to stay for dinner and I must say I fell in love with that family. The way I wish for my future family to interact I have only seen on TV (haha modern family!)--but this, it was amazing. I truly want my family to have the closeness and love that I witnessed at that home. I don't know how to describe it except that they all just really lived for each other and truly loved to be around one another. Don, the amazing cook, had made homemade grilled pizza--real italian style--and we had beers and wine. They always sent me home with some food or propel to eat or share with my boyfriend.
We were so close that they could text me to ask questions or to have me bring some supplements home for them. (I really hope this is all coherent..I've been having a rough time with this) I knew he was in the hospital fighting off an infection from the graft vs host disease (stem cell transplant) and his last scan was clear of cancer. I just saw his daughter at the clinic a week ago and we were talking about him. Sunday night I had to train my boyfriends family (mom, stepdad, and aunt) how to administer insulin injections to their dog and I went to the BF's restaurant for a glass of wine. Once I got home I went on facebook to see what was going on with everyone and to check if anyone from the family posted an update on Don. And there was an update that he had passed away. I read it. And re-read it. And read it a third time before it finally hit me. (I think I may have even read it a fourth time, I was shocked) I was listening to Christina Perri's song Lonely (which now makes me cry when I hear it) and just started sobbing. I cried for his wife who I love so very much, I cried for his beautiful kitties that always know when he's sick, I cried for his daughter because no one wants to lose their daddy. I cried for myself and I cried for this world because we have truly lost an amazing person. I sobbed for a good ten minutes. I cannot even write this without tears welling up in my eyes. Part of me doesn't understand this as I didn't even cry when my grandfathers died (yeah both within a few months of one another) and I didn't cry when my BF's grandfather died. Empathy perhaps? It doesn't make sense but I accept that it is affecting me. I'm pet sitting for the kitties this week and at times its hard to be in the house where I have so many memories of him. I can't even imagine how it must feel for his family and friends. The thing about death is just because the person is gone doesn't mean you lost the memory. Don Sforza will live on in the hearts and minds of those who loved him. And now I have to stop. Sorry for the sad post but I really wanted to use my post this week to immortalize my friend on the internet and to remember what a good person that he was--I would do anything for his wife and daughter, they have my heart.
Click here to view his obituary
Don chronicled his experience getting a stem cell transplant from his sister, being hospitalized, and then in out patient care in Tampa, FL. This adventure not only rid him of Leukemia but showed us what good medicine, positive thinking, and love can do.
Don's blog: http://don-thelongestjourney.blogspot.com/
Please take a moment to treasure your life and your loved ones.