Early yesterday morning, my brother-in-law Todd Merrill who was in his early 50’s, passed after a truly heroic battle with cancer. He battled to the end with a refusal to let cancer take away his love of life.
We found out he was in Stage 4 about a year and a half ago. Since then, like always before, he and Lisa continued having family dinners for the rest of us deadbeats (when compared to them). Todd and Lisa remained wonderful hosts to all. Their door was always open.
As the chemo, radiation and disease took their toll, Todd barely noticed. He was always friendly and talkative, even to the end.
A couple of weeks ago we got a video from Lisa showing Todd and his daughter Katie passing the time with Todd’s brother Bruce. Todd was in pretty rough shape but as always, willing to do his best and keep plugging away.
I still get teary when I watch this. What assurance in the divine Plan and what a trooper as he watched his last days scroll by!
I work next to a field that Todd farmed. We often got together on summer days when we saw each other and shot the bull. I’m going to miss those great meetings.
I’m trying to compile a few vids and pictures of a family trip we took a few months ago. Todd was always ready to venture out, no matter the activity and no matter how he felt. He encouraged us to record the times as they happened.
Soon after he found out about the cancer, our family met at the cemetery on Memorial Day where we always meet and share stories and reminisce. After the cemetery, we head for a park to brunch and run races. I always race my sister Jill and I always win. She’s younger and better looking but I’m smarter and cheat at the start.
I also always hurt myself.
At the cemetery this last year, Todd posed for this picture…
Some might think this is morbid. But Todd didn’t. He did everything he could to get better but he accepted whatever the end result was going to be. One of my siblings got confronted about some of the pictures going on social media about Todd’s final experiences.
This person said that it was wrong to post pictures like that. My relation informed them that Todd was fine with it. The reply they got was something like: “Well Todd is not in his right mind then.”
I’m sorry but Todd has always been in his right mind. He didn’t hide from his friends. He didn’t hide behind his bedroom door. He was out there. Always! He continued to invite and visit and pose. He has thousands of friends and loved them all.
By now, Todd has verified that life is eternal. Todd’s last and biggest problem here on earth, now that he’s done with the cancer fight, is where are all his friends going to sit during the funeral?
I’m glad I’m family so I’ll have a seat. It’s likely I may need to push Jill out of my chair and tell her to move to the back.