My Friend Chad

chadpeacock

“Even if I’m dead, if you’re seeing this, I had a happy ending”
From the notebook of ‘Charles Peacock’

Six years ago an email appeared in the inboxes of many people who knew and loved Chad Peacock. The first line of the email read…

Hey Everybuddy!

 OK, so here’s the news, it’s not really good or bad, it just is what it is and it’s exactly what I was expecting, so I’m just gonna roll with it and do what I can do to kick this thing in the brain-ass.

For six years Chad did in fact kick ‘that thing in the brain-ass.’

For six years, Chad lived with glioblastoma (Rainbow effect as he always wrote it) and when I say ‘lived’ I mean he lived! He lived with the same love, passion, reckless abandon and joy that he had always lived with, long before he was ‘Cancerful™’ Chad lived and lived fully and independently, right until the moment he passed away on December 17th surrounded by family and love.

For nearly 30 years, I was fortunate enough to share my journey with Chad. In that time I can not think of him ever passing a rose without stopping to smell it. That is not a metaphor, Chad ‘literally’ always stopped to smell the roses.  No matter what the prognosis or challenge, Chad faced it with an almost superhuman degree of grace and humor and his appreciation for beauty and life, never changed, even in his darkest moments. All you have to do is look at how he defined the side effects of brain cancer in his writing…

 BRAIN CANCER (glioblastoma) Side effects may include:

  • A heightened awareness of the value and indispensability of friendship;
  • A strong desire to live every fucking day to its fullest;
  • The ability to one-up any story ever;
  • Better, richer relationships with your relatives and loved ones;
  • An even greater appetite for smelling roses;
  • Some of your life goals and greatest dreams coming true.

I mean it ain’t ALL wine and roses, this BrainChance thing, but it has its upside(s).

And that’s something.

Chad’s life was as beautiful and fragrant as any rose he smelled, because that is the way Chad made it. He did not like to use the word ‘fight’ as in “Chad is fighting brain cancer,” because Chad did not ‘fight’ against his brain cancer, instead, he accepted and even embraced it as a part of his bizarre and wonderful journey.  As Chad said in that first email “I’m gonna laugh and run and skip my way through this thing” and he did just that, smelling every rose, eating cake for breakfast, rejoicing in the surreal, making up silly songs and always living on his own terms, even jumping out of a plane in Norway dressed in a furry purple animal costume just last month.

A few weeks before he passed Chad and I sat up late one night staring out at the ocean watching the waves of the pacific roll in and out like theater. He was as full of joy, wisdom and silliness as he had always been, but there also seemed to be a ‘knowing’ in him, that his time was running out. Maybe that knowing was in both of us, because we talked all night about everything and nothing, and shared those deep thoughts and fears the way only two old friends can.

One thing Chad truly feared was that all of the people who have found hope and comfort in the words of this blog, whether they are Cancerful themselves, or love someone that is Cancerful, or simply found meaning and inspiration in his words, would be shaken and disheartened to slowly discover one day that he was gone. He was horrified at the idea of a blog that simply stopped and was just left unwritten. He hated what that dawning realization, would bring to those who had come to his ‘Brain Chancery’ seeking some kind of inspiration or hope.

So now as we sit in the sadness and confusion of loss, I think it is important to find a way to make sure this moment does not spread despair and sorrow but instead is a celebration of life and the power of hope, humor and love, because that’s what Chad believed were the things that could cure us, from anything that made us feel sick or disheartened, even if was just for a moment. I think ultimately the best way to let Chad’s sentiment and inspiration lift us as it always has, is to let Chad’s words speak for themselves.

Below is a ‘Brain chancery entry from January 29th 2013,

If anything should ever happen to me (in an untimely fashion that is, where “timely” is defined as, I don’t know, 77 years old?)  I’d like somebody to deliver the following address at my funeral.

 Dressed in an Abraham Lincoln costume.

 With the beard and the hat.

 No, I’m not kidding.

 And don’t worry, I’m not writing this because I have any reason to believe I’m about to be de-fashioned in an untimely way.  

I’m writing this because I wrote it, on my cell phone, in the dark of a movie theater after I watched “Lincoln.”

 I was inspired by the soaring oratory of Spielberg-Kushner-Daniel-Day-Lincoln.  And was wondering why no one ever talks like that in normal everyday life.   Wondering why you’re expected to not be extremely articulate or particularly moving unless you’re on a podium or in front of a casket.  Or staring down the barrel of a gun.

 I guess I am, in a sense, staring down the barrel of a gun.  Lucky for me that I have this blog to serve as an e-podium, otherwise I’d sound like a weirdo just walking down the street with a friend and offhandedly saying the following in a high-register Lincoln voice:

 We work to conquer or circumvent these moments of fear, these times of terror and despair and lack of hope, so that we may enjoy each other and this thing called “life” in all its wonder and its glory… and not in its pain.

What else can we do or should we do but work to facilitate love, and smiling and laughing and joy.  Because the way to conquer fear and sadness is to replace them with hope, and with happiness; and while we wish this would happen freely and come to us like a gust of grace in the wind, sometimes it takes work.

The good news, friend, is that this is not something that is out of our control– in fact it is completely and very much up to us whether we choose to look forward, or to look down, or to turn away in fear.

For just as we can make the decision to stop and appreciate the smell of a flower or the beauty of a newborn baby, so can we choose to look fear in the eyes and say:

“This is not your time.  You will not hold sway over me now.”

And we can do this with the confidence that comes from knowing one thing: that the world will always be filled with beauty and wonder and hope, so long as we are willing to find it, to let it find us, and to accept it, always, with open arms.

(For the record, I would not be against having Daniel Day Lewis there to read this in the Lincoln costume.)

Charles Phillip Peacock Jr. 12/28/75 – 12/17/17

Post by Brian Klugman

41 thoughts on “My Friend Chad

  1. Oh, Chad- I never met you in person, but I shared a late-night email exchange with you and I loved reading your words rejoiced in the joy and power of your journey through glioblastoma. You added light and color to the world, and your experience with GBM somehow soothed the wounds left by my father in law’s death to to it the year your were diagnosed. Of course your death is a loss, but your life was a gift, one that will resonate in all who had the privilege to know you, even if that knowledge was only electronic, and only included a small part of who you were and what you thought.

    I with you and all your real-life family and friends peace and good memories. I know that your blogposts brought hope and heart to many, and believe those gifts will live on, though they maybe dampened for a time by sorrow at your loss.

    Shalom

  2. Ah man! I’ll miss Chad’s perfect cancerful perspective. I hope I’ve learned from him and will continue to smell the flowers and appreciate them even if they might be perceived as weeds. I’m sorry for everyone’s loss, but only because I’m super selfish that way. Glad to have read his words. He will continue to make a difference.

    Hugs to all

  3. What a fitting tribute to a shining spirit. My husband passed away from Glio in 2014, about the same time I found this blog. Following Chad’s blog helped me find peace in his passing, and gave me another hero to cheer on. I have bragged on Chad running to brain surgery and finding ways to laugh in the face of cancer. He lived life with intention and made it a little brighter. I will miss having his blog pop up in my inbox.

  4. I smiled when I saw an email from the brainchancery, but then my heart skipped a beat when I saw the title of the blog, and then it grew heavy as I read on.

    Having had brain surgery (only 1!) 2½ years ago, I stumbled upon Chad’s blog and have been an avid follower ever since.

    I’ve tried to face my journey with positivity and humour, and if/when ever I felt a bit tired of my journey (non-cancerful) Chad’s blog would arrive in my email inbox and I’d be uplifted and inspired ten-fold.

    Chad probably lived a fuller life than some seventy year olds, but then I’ve found that brain surgery makes that happen. As corny as it sounds, it makes you appreciate the smell of those roses and life altogether so much more once you’ve had a life changing experience.

    Thank you Chad’s friend for letting strangers know, you wrote Chad’s final blog entry with much love and respect to him, and with a sprinkling of Chad. Much love and appreciation.

    Regards, Elaine – a wee lass from Scotland who’s been touched by Chad. x

  5. Brian, thanks for sharing, even though it must have been difficult for you to write. I never knew Chad, but I’ve been encouraged and inspired by him since my GBM diagnosis 20 months ago. I quickly learned not to look up GBM on the internet because it was so discouraging, but I’m glad I found this site. I’ve shared Chad’s post about scans and the very mixed feelings we cancerful folks have about them with countless people. It can feel very lonely to have incurable brain cancer, but it helped knowing that there was someone out there who got it. Really got it — even the blessings that inexplicably come with it. I’ll miss the posts but I won’t give up hope. I’ll continue to be grateful for every day I have and I will stop to smell the roses.

  6. Thank you for letting us know. I’ve followed Chad for several years, after stumbling upon his blog while researching things for a cancerful niece. I was one of the quiet ones, rooting from the sidelines and was immensely touched by his verve for life, humor and refusal to stand down. Yes, he was a winner in every way and I will never forget the things I leaned from him. My sympathies go out to his family and friends. I can’t imagine how much he will be missed.

  7. I don’t know how to express what I’m feeling right now. I’ve had to sweat out a couple of biopsies, my sister in law made it through her breast cancer only to have her husband now fighting non hodgkin’s lymphoma and my daughter’s boyfriends father just passed, also from a glioblastoma after three years. All I can do is promise to always smell the roses in Chad’s memory.

  8. Thanks Brian 🙂 So sad to hear, but I am also buoyed by the knowledge that he used his time to the absolute fullest. Can’t help thinking that we all have to go sometime, and Chad really made his time count, because he knew he had a little less.

  9. Chad’s incredible blog will surely inspire readers for many more years than his wonderful but much too short life. What a guy!!!

  10. I am so very deeply sorry to read this update. Chad and I connected about 5 years ago after I lost a dear friend to glioblastoma, and he was unfailingly sunny, witty and pragmatic. He definitely kicked cancer’s ass. The stars just dimmed a bit as we lost a good one. RIP Chad, and so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing

  11. Oh Brian this is so sad to hear.
    I always felt a strange sense of peace just knowing that Chad was in the world, and living his life. I didn’t know him; but his words were full of beauty and energy; and even when he was going through some horrid medical stuff he made me smile.
    I prayed for him. I hoped for him. I thought about him. I didn’t have to know him to feel close to him, and to care about him. I was just grateful that he allowed me to walk along his journey path…. if only for a short while. I recall the words of Ram Dass “We’re all just walking each other home”. It was a privilege to be part of his journey.
    Love, light and blessings to you and all of Chad’s family.

  12. Thank you, Brian, for writing this post. I always worry when there’s too much time between posts. Chad was a support and inspiration during my dad’s battle against his GBM. I had the great fortune to meet Chad and argue with him over the merits of store-bought vs. homemade chocolate pudding. My life is better because I knew Chad. May you find comfort and joy in all the incredible memories you must have.

  13. I’m so sad to read this latest blog post, rest in peace Chad. I lost my mum to GBM two years ago and Chad’s posts gave me hope and perspective. Although their lives may have been shorter due to being cancerful they certainly made the most of the time they were given with their loved ones and friends. I send love and thoughts to Chad’s family and friends. Sarah U.K

  14. Thank you so much for posting this. As someone above said, I always got worried when too much time went by between posts. I met Chad at a party in early 2014 and we instantly became friends- he didn’t tell me about his GBM until a few weeks into our friendship and I was amazed and floored by his story. He is the only person I have ever known with terminal cancer. I’m Danish and he spent some time in Denmark, so we cooked some traditional dinners together, and he took me to a Danish bakery on his motorcycle. I loved sitting and chatting with him overlooking the stunning view from his hilltop home; he was such a wonderful person and friend. I knew our time was limited, and treasured every moment we had together. I am sure his family has arranged for the care of his dog. I am so very sad to get this news, but hope he is resting in peace. He fought an incredible battle for an incredibly long time. Sending so much love and peace to his friends and family. Love to you, Chad.
    xo, Kristina

  15. Chad was, and continues to be, an inspiration. I recently lost someone who was close to me to GBM and my deepest sympathies and love go out to those who loved him. He made the world a better and brighter place and we were blessed to have him share it with us. Thank you for writing this, Brian. It’s lovely.

  16. TCAB #77
    That stands for Total Cancer Bad Ass
    #77 was his Lacrosse # in high school
    We will all miss you spirit passion and luv for life

    RIP

  17. Many years ago I was lucky enough to go to school in Paris where I met an amazing guy named Chad. Each time we were together, we bounced from hilarity to philosophy on a whim. His wit and heart have filled me up and that will never change. Thank you, Brian, for giving closure to this blog and for encouraging us to remember his incredible propensity for cheer and wonder.

  18. Brian, thank you so much for your beautiful words. Like Chad, you are a gifted writer. For someone I never met or communicated with, Chad had a significant impact on my life. My love and prayers are with you and Chad’s family. I firmly believe Chad is experiencing whatever and wherever he is now to the absolute fullest.

  19. Our deepest, heartfelt condolences to all who loved Chad.. He started his cancerful, glioblastoma journey almost to the day at the same time as my husband, and Chad’s posts became a part of our life. We never met him in person, but his love of life, sense of wonder, and humor touched us deeply. He wrote and communicated so beautifully and his posts made a difficult time more bearable. With every post we silently rooted for him to keep getting canxer”s ass. We are grateful he shared part of his life with us; he touched so many people.
    Much love.

  20. Thank you for sharing. ❤️ I have been following Chad’s blog by happenstance. I am not cancerful nor am I currently dealing with someone with cancer but have in the past. I used his rays of positivity to guide me in life and will continue in such a way. I won’t deny, I have been checking for posts a lot in the few months as I do when he goes on breaks. My heart fluttered than sank when I saw the subject. I feel lucky that I was able to follow him through this cancerful life he lived. Thanks for posting. You were lucky to have know him as I only got to see this dimension and enjoyed it so much. 🙌🏼

  21. I’ve dreaded the day this post came along. Chad’s humor and insight helped me as I faced my mother’s diagnosis and eventual death from GBM. I was always so relieved and inspired when another of his posts would appear in my inbox. He faced this beast with humor and grace and I’m so sad for his Family and Friends as they continue in this world with only his memory.

  22. I think I found Chad’s blog through The Everywhereist (Geraldine) and started following his journey a few years back. I never got to meet him in person but he was a joy to know through this blog. I wish I had known he was in Norway (where I live)! I feel amazingly lucky that I stumbled across this blog and got to know a bit about him and his unique perspective on cancer. I think I even used his blog as an example of the power of language and how we talk about health conditions in my medical anthropology class once. Hugs and love to all of his family and friends and RIF (fun), Chad.

  23. Following Chads journey provided me with tools to deal with the loss of my dear wife who presented with micrometastsis to the brain and no primary lesion was ever identified to explain same.Chads insights and humor in the face of his grim prognosis gave us the courage to face terminal cancer.I will never forget him and wish the very best for his family and friends.God bless. Rey Luce MD,Idaho

  24. Thank you Brian for letting us know the sad news about Chad (RIP). I will continue lighting candles for him when I go to St. Teresa’s Church in Hong Kong, which is near St. Teresa’s Hospital where Chad had his first operation. I can still buy him a coffee in the coffee shop at the hospital as promised. It is interesting that you mentioned about Chad smelling roses. When St. Teresa was dying, it is reported that she said something like “After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses. I will spend my heaven doing good upon earth.” Chad may do the same. St. Teresa is usually depicted holding roses. Maybe you could think about having a type of rose named after Chad. Are you thinking of setting up something like a Facebook page so that all of us who have followed Chad’s journey can remember him?
    Best wishes,
    Patricia

  25. Thank you Brian, for letting us all know. I have thought of Chad often recently, fending off the feeling that something was not right. I never knew Chad, but his words certainly struck a chord in this non-Cancerful life I lead. I hope his family, friends, and dear pup find comfort in the love that continues to shine on…

    Rest In Peace, Chad.

  26. I am so saddened to learn this. From the beginning, discovering Chad and his prolific, life-lifting posts meant a lot to me. They made me laugh, stress less, think less about what my own brain lost (via surgery for anoplastic astrocytoma – grade 3) and more about what it gained, or could gain. If Chad could write and create and share joy while exploring the unexpected path he was placed on, why couldn’t I? I could, or hope to or try to — all that — and I have. No, I wouldn’t have picked this path prior to my seizure in 2012, but being sent this way by whatever, has made me more aware of what’s been literally all around me but never sufficiently absorbed. The sky, trees and birds,shadows and sunlight, my 94-year-old dad and all his art, his thoughts, his family history. I lost important brain matter, yes, but it made room for a lot of new stuff I like (like doing artwork for the first time in half a century) and need to explore. Chad’s humor and passion and zest continue to live on in my brain and that of many others I bet. Thank you Chad. We never met (though you emailed me back a couple of times with your usual bold and humorous encouragement) but I feel like we did. And thanks and every condolence possible to Chad mom’s (and entire family) who once posted in response to what I posted in a sweet, caring, encouraging way.

  27. I loved checking in on this site from time to time, over the years. I always benefited from Chad’s perspective, and wanted to make sure he was still okay. I never knew him, but his words gave me a whole lot. Brian, thank you so much for this fittingly loving, spirited post. I realized, reading it, that you must have gone through Chad’s entire blog to choose your favorites. That can’t have been easy. Thank you so much for doing that, in order to give Chad’s readers this. Your candor and humor, like your friend’s, move me so deeply. Gives me great happiness to see buddies like the two of you. May Chad’s memory be a blessing to you, and to all of us. So much love 💛

  28. Brian, thank you for posting this loving tribute. I found Chad’s blog when looking for some guidance during the course of my sister’s 19 month GBM illness. He always left me with a smile and more courage in facing (and enjoying) what we had ahead. Now I am starting my own struggle with brain cancer (Grade III oligodendroglioma) and hope that his spirit and words will help carry me far. Deepest condolences to those who knew and loved Chad in every way. I know he left us all with a lot to laugh and smile about. God bless and RIP.

  29. I am so sorry to hear about Chad, I found his blog late one night googling GBM, as you do, just after my mum was sadly diagnosed at 67, she died 3 months later, however I stayed tuned into Chad’s journey, which was utterly inspirational, and gave me hope that not all GBM diagnoses are as tragic as my dear mums. You fought hard Chad and most importantly lived!

  30. I’ve no words . Chad had those…I’m so sad and I’m scared for hubby’s illness with this. I was selfish Chad was my life life. .my hope. I Nedd to dig deep and remember all the maxing blogs..Maybe I’ll read them again.

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