Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I lost a good friend on Monday. Found out about it the next day.  Figures the one day I decided to stay off the internet.  It was hard to learn that Don Wilhelm had passed away from a long battle with cancer.  Found out about it during The Vic McCarty Show.  Hard to do a live radio broadcast when you find out that news.  Hard to do much of anything.  Even the pilates class I had that day did little for me.

I can't even remember how Don & I met.   Probably through stupid cancer or Matt Zachary.  I was one of the people who he asked to review his book for a virtual blog tour.  I have to say his sense of humor is a lot like mine.  It was like I was reading something I had lived through.  People say stupid shit to you when you have cancer.  He wrote it all down.  Told it like it was.  It was funny and real.  It is the best book I have read about what its like to have cancer.

I was lucky enough to meet Don & his wife Amy in real life, he ironically is from the town I live in now.  We would chat on facebook and twitter.  We talked about survivorship, life etc. 

The last time I saw him was in July.  I am grateful that my fiance got to meet him.  We went out to The Pancake House in Bay Harbor.  He gave me some of his books to pass out to survivors who listen to my podcast or who I meet in person. 

When I noticed he wasn't on facebook that much I emailed Amy and asked how he was.  She said he was tired of fighting.  This was his final  facebook post:

I’ve filled my original goal here on earth. It was to spend the remainder of my life helping cancer patients. It seems to be where I found the greatest joy and the most sense of worth. I’m moving up into the next roll. I’ll leave my faithful followers to slip in and fill the gaps. Love to you all and positive energy, ...Don Wilhelm (Don entered into Hospice care as of Weds.)


When I read that post, whether you realized it or not, I know you were talking directly to me.

I wanted to wait a while before I wrote something about my friend, but I couldn't wait.  The day I found out you passed away my friend was sad.  It was a beautiful sunny day up north in the place you love so much, but somehow it seemed so dark and lonely.  Without you here with us the days seem a little less sunny, the stars seem to shine a little less brightly and the world seems sadder and smaller.   

I know that you would smile at me with that easy carefree smile of yours and say "Hey Mel, it is what it is."

I know that Don.

But I miss my friend


  1. Well said Mel, He will be missed by many, but as you say he holds a special place within us that knew him best. I can picture him saying that as well,"Hey Mel, it is what it is."! So glad I made that phone call to him a month or so ago. It was most likely the end of July, because he was watching the British Open when I called. And he was thrilled to meet you when he did, spoke of you often and Petoskey as well. I too will miss our dear friend.

  2. Mel,

    I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I wish I had known him.