With Only Months to Live, an Essay on What He'll Miss

Jack Thomas of the Boston Globe writes perhaps his final story
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2021 5:48 PM CDT
With Only Months to Live, an Essay on What He'll Miss
   (Getty/emre erdem)

Jack Thomas wrote his first story for the Boston Globe in 1958. All these years later, he is still writing for the newspaper, though his latest essay might well be his last. In it, Thomas reveals that he has terminal cancer and only months to live. "Editing the final details of one’s life is like editing a story for the final time," he writes. "It’s the last shot an editor has at making corrections, the last rewrite before the roll of the presses." The essay is anything but morose as Thomas reflects not just on his career but on his family, and on what he's going to miss the most. Some details:

  • "Atop the list of things I’ll miss are the smiles and hugs every morning from my beautiful wife, Geraldine, the greatest blessing of my life. I hate the notion of an eternity without hearing laughter from my three children. And what about my 40 rose bushes? Who will nurture them?"

  • "I’ll never again see the sun rise over the marsh off Vineyard Sound, never again see that little, yellow goldfinch that perched atop a hemlock outside my window from time to time so that both of us could watch the tide rise to cover the wetland."
  • "Never again will I stretch out on the sand with a drink and stare in amazement at a sky filled with diamond stars. How is it possible that there could be more than 100 thousand million stars in our Milky Way, let alone who can say how many millions upon millions more in other galaxies, and yet, among them all, there is no planet that supports life? Imagine how newspapers will report that discovery!"
Read the full essay, in which Thomas recounts everything from playing pool against Minnesota Fats to (regretfully) stealing 50 cents from his dad's pants pocket as a boy. All in all, it's been "a really good time." (More terminal illness stories.)

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