As I visited Jay Henderson’s Backcountry Notes this morning, I read his Endgame — Week 15. He told his readers that a visit to Duke Medical Center revealed his cancer had invaded his liver and there was nothing more he or his doctors could do. That was September 23rd. Jay died on Saturday, October 9th, 2010. He was one of the finest bloggers I’ve encountered in my time on the Internet.
Jay Henderson was the heart behind Annuit Coeptis, which has recently changed servers and its name. Annuit Coeptis is now Liberty Ledger. His personal blog was Backcountry Notes, a beautiful look at his home “in the mountainous area of southwestern Virginia.”
This from Jay:
I am an ex-urbanite who escaped the city life and has lived for the past 29 years in a rural, mountainous area of southwestern Virginia that in colonial and early-American times was part of the “Backcountry.”
This is the true melting pot of the U.S.A., its culture and traditions dominated by “born fighting” Scotch-Irish immigrants and enhanced by German, Highland Scot, Dutch, Welsh, and yeoman English settlers.
Having absorbed and inculcated the history, values and views of the Backcountry, I would like to share information and insights from the place where America began. – – Jay Henderson
When I met Jay about 2-1/2 years ago online, he told me was a cancer survivor. He had been away for a few days for the on-going testing that every cancer survivor endures for the rest of their lives. At that time, he was still cancer free. I am a breast cancer survivor – 17 years in December, and so we were talking about the Big C. I will never forget one thing that he told me:
“Maggie, there are worst things to die of than cancer.”
I can’t begin to tell you how often I have thought of those sage words. As I have lost friends over the past couple of years to different diseases, I see firsthand that cancer is not always the worst thing to die of, but of course, sometimes it is. I followed Jay’s last journey and he certainly suffered over the past few months.
But when I think about it, I think of those I know who have withered away with Alzheimer’s, taking years and years to die. At one time I thought Alzheimer’s might be a blessing because you simply have no memories, but watching a family member with this dreadful disease, I realize that Alzheimer’s patients can have terrible things going on inside – a torture that we, and doctor’s know nothing about.
Indeed, cancer is not always the worst way to die.
Jay Henderson was a prolific writer, mostly about politics and history. He was a wise, witty and gentle writer. No, I did not know Jay “in real life,” only through blogging, but I believe when we continuously read a person’s non-fiction writings, their true heart and soul is revealed. Jay had a calm confidence in his knowledge, and a fine talent for passing it on. Please visit the two blogs linked above and read some of Jay’s work. You will be enriched by it.