Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Little Chocolate Cheebus

One of Scott's favorite songs for Sunday and at Christmas Time.

"Chocolate Jesus" by the great Tom Waits

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Life: The Crash Course Version

[My brother passed away from Pancreatic Cancer almost 2 years ago on December 20th. 2006
He was 38 years old. This is an entry from my personal journal]

LIFE: The Crash Course Version

"death and dying are the easy parts, it's life without someone that's
hard, the harshest... and as bad as this feels now, it is not the worst part..."

Saturday  April 29, 2006


Some bewildered musings and deeper thoughts, one Saturday morning with my brother:

My brother Scott has developed his own scale of pain in a blog he
created. It differentiates between physical and emotional pain.
Consequentially, there are always two numbers-one for how he is
feeling emotionally, the second indicates how painful the
physical, the tangible pain is from the cancer that disrupts
and poisons his body much he hurts.

Today I'm writing about my own pain, as one who loves and cares for
him. How my brother's pain, anguish and befuddlement, as the impending end of his life draws ever near, affects me.
And yes, it is painful-- oh, so very much and in so many ways.

As of yet I have found no scale worthy enough, no barometer
or gauge I can go to or look at, that adequately describes the pain I am feeling.
I don't think I even want to. It makes it too real. Yet no matter
how hard I try to distract myself, the agony is ever present. It
follows and surrounds me like a dark ominous cloud.

We started the day with our new morning ritual;  a cup of freshly
brewed coffee in hand with me asking what he would like for breakfast.
Food is a sore subject--he has no taste buds and no appetite. So I
am learning to approach the topic delicately, respectfully, though at
times carelessly, in avoidance--as if his diet is of no consequence.
However, today was different.  He didn't respond in his usual way;
"Sheri, I've told you...I don't care what I eat anymore...if it
tastes good or not, even something I used to enjoy...Let me just get
something myself. "  Today, instead, he said, "Oh, I can't eat
anything yet.  Today is an oral chemo day.  I have to wait 20 more
minutes until I can take the chemo pills, then I can eat a little
something ... but then, yeah, something for breakfast would be great."

I was fine for a moment. Then this awkward silence descended on me.
Both of us realizing, simultaneously, that this one paltry response,
actually spoke volumes.  We never used to talk about cancer or
chemotherapy, but more significantly, we never spoke about HIS having
Cancer, let alone the significance of taking chemotherapy pills.  And
it is not even a pill that will cure him.  It is only a pill that may
prolong his life, hopefully, a few more months, if we are lucky.

Then my brother asked me, half joking, half to break the unbearable
silence, if it bothered me if he took "the pills"  in front of me?
Bothered me?  I could feel the tears begin to well up, my barrier of
courage cracking as I began to weep. I cannot recall my answer, all
of the words I spoke.  Only that they were feeble, at best, compared to
all that I was feeling. I answered, though hardly discernible, that
"yes, it actually bothers me quite a bit ... not that you are doing
it in front of me...just the mere fact that you have to take them at
all ...  "   "It just makes me so mad,"  and the tears
freely rolled down my face, like waves crashing onto the shore.

I discovered this poem as I was searching for an Anne Morrow
Lindbergh quote.  It attempts to express how and what I was feeling
during my Saturday morning session with my brother.

Fairy tales For My Brother

It seems wherever I go,
People come into my life and go out.
Touching me where I can feel,
Then leaving only a memory
Like the gossamer fairy tales of children easily forgotten.
And I wasn't through knowing them.

How do I know
Whom I am seeing for the last time?
How do you halt your life
To gather and keep fairy tales from losing their magic?

So come.
Brush against the walls of my life
And stay long enough for us to know each other,
Even though you know we will have to part some time.
And we both know the longer you stay,
The more I will want you back when you have gone.

But come anyway.
For fairy tales are the happiest stories we know,
And great books are made of little chapters.

This is my journal entry for today. The significance of watching my
younger and by all accounts, except for his having terminal pancreatic cancer,
healthier brother ingest oral chemotherapy, oral toxic poison, to steal a bit more life.

This is a journey, an experience that no one prepares you for.  There
is no rule book to guide me through my anguish and sorrow.  And so I
depend on the strength and comfort of my friends, partner, family  and
loved ones, to help get me though this.  Not for myself-- but so that
I can be of use to him as he becomes weaker, as I know he will.

What makes this so uncanny and peculiar is, I still find myself relying
and depend on him to assist me with the answers on “how to cope” and as a source of strength and balance,
which is one of the many roles he plays in my life.
Is this thoughtless, selfish? If it is, it certainly isn’t intentional.
Just what I've grown to expect; his wisdom and perspective,
in a life that doesn't always make sense to me.
I want and need to be there, for him.
Pretending this isn’t happening, behaving as if I've ever experienced anything even remotely like this,
is silly and disingenuous. Again, balance, I need to discover my own.
And yes, this scares me and I tremble at the thought.
Another reason for confronting and learning about what it is, what it will be like?
The process of losing my brother.

I will follow his lead.

Something else, another observation...As ill and weak as he is, knowing he will die soon,
and all of the thoughts and fears that come with that knowledge,
he still, as always, tries to shield and protect me from what he knows will be
my sorrow and anguish, the ominous hole of loss that his passing will bring.
The void that will become a part of my waking life. I can't even begin to imagine.

Scott has not lost, and will never lose his "magic."
His importance in my life, if anything, is even more penetrating, alive and prevalent.
The thought of losing him is the most unbearable pain I can think of.

But, "I will come anyway" and join him in his fight and struggle in
trying to make some sense of this most senseless and crude diagnosis
and disease. He is fighting for his life. I am fighting for his life--and hoping for a miracle.
As I continue to love, enjoy, learn from and honor him,
I am grateful for every moment and experience we have shared. Every thought
and stolen memory I can, and will, continue to share and remember, knowing
I was blessed with the most wondrous brother; one who amazes and overwhelms me every day.

My heart breaks a little more each day. With the swallow of a pill, a groan, a sigh,
or the pensive look of pain that hasn’t left his face since his diagnosis--
he continues and remains determined, always.
Productive, beautiful and thoughtful, constantly.

His is an amazing life. And yes, I stand amazed.

I love you, my brother.
"This is not good-bye"



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Donna Trussell: On Cancer & Scott

NOVEMBER, the time of 'Thanksgiving' and the beginning of winter chills.
It is also the last month, in 2006, when Scott was capable of writing and posting
in his blog.

November 21, 2006 was the date of Scott's last post.
Kim was kind enough to keep it up and running after their visit to Salt Lake City late November
for Thanksgiving, keeping his 'blog followers' up-dated, until and after Scott's death.


On this day two years ago, Scott was still alive, though weak, our Mom was in the Hospital
fighting her own health issues, as she continued to hope and fight for a miracle for him.
None of us knew what we know now--
That Scott would pass away one month later, on December 20, 2006
and that our dear Mother would follow him a mere three weeks after.

All of these dates, memories are cemented in my mind, forever.
Since that time, I have had the honor of meeting some incredible people;
People who have blessed and touched my life in ways that far exceed my understanding.

One, is Donna Trussell.
Her life has also been altered by Cancer.

My thanks to her for this and many other things.


[Please refer to Donna's blog for her post: Cancer Doesn't Care]

Donna Trussell
Poetry, fiction, cancer. Oh, and monsters from the id.

October 21, 2008 at 6:00 pm donnatrussell

Some excerpts form Sheri’s brother’s blog entry dated October 20, 2006.
(Scott Swaner was a poet, teacher and translator. He died of pancreatic cancer just two months after he wrote this.
He was 38 years old.)

By Donna Trussell

"Cut out all forms of social enjoyment. All forms that any other would understand.
And onliness (the state of being alone) results….Loved ones, friends, family are all excluded thereby, all left out cold, all left in their community, the one I’m slowly being ostracized from….No person has ordered my expulsion, no gods are angry,
rather the mindless dice of the universe, thrown by an agent with no hands,
brought by a messenger with no legs, conveyed and explained by a deaf mute diplomat….

Cancer is the capitalism of the body. It grows unchecked, until at some point it will eliminate itself by eliminating its host, its own means of production —
me / I will die at the hands of Capital as metaphor….

What is new that becomes appealing, a list:
Warmth. Absence of pain, dumbly of course and too plain.
Fantasy, a novel by Tolstoy or Balzac or Zola with the long drawn-out pans of whole swaths of society as means of escape….
To distract the mind from the Real….
To be another escape from all the necessities, the so many little must-do’s;
from pills to calories to soap and water to last-“minute” legal paperwork
like wills & DNRs to maintaining salary to “finishing” a number of professional tasks that alternate on given days from more to less important….

What else that’s new: small moments, looking elsewhere, rain through a window,
a comfortable silence, bits of sleep without dreams.
A recent one [dream] though, where I am to be tending an old friend’s young child,
who is helpless without me, and I am intensely aware of how much depends on me,
but it’s all I can do to keep myself awake and responsible and watchful and caring
and protective. My own inability to stay awake — in the middle of sleep —
keeps me from being a good babysitter.
Stuck in this unwaking state with my friend and his wife’s expectations resting heavy upon me, heavy like the sleep upon my eyelids.
The child alone with me. A nightmare but still a dream."

--Scott H Swaner

*used with permission
Scott H Swaner family foundation fund*

[posted by Donna Trussell from her blog: DONNA TRUSSELL Poetry, fiction, cancer]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

LIVE LIVE LIVE "What Defines This Life?"

This particular post of Mr. Jones, was originally written and posted on Friday, July 14, 2006.
He passed away a little over 5 months after writing this.
I am re-posting it for several reasons. First, because it is one of my favorites.
Secondly, Scott could have written the theme of this post at any given time in his 38 years.

Scott lived! Scott Lived! Each day of his life was purposeful and determined.
A good lesson for all of us, no?
Certainly a lesson that I need to work on; a lesson he reminded me of,
either in word or by how he lived his life; Honestly, with conviction, and determined.

What Defines This Life, What defined Scott's life?
Most of the answers are found within this post.

I miss you, Scott.
Sometimes more than I can bear... but then I remember what you asked me to do;
And I try harder. The missing never goes away, though. Ever.



7.14.07, "What Defines This Life?" You Ask

*Franky Scale: Why just one? Started about 6, dropped to a 5 for a while till I did some pharmacological adjustment. Ended up close to 7, the day was good, saying good bye to Ms. T over crumpets and books at the Left Bank, then with Mme. X for a dinner of bar food.

*Dearest Prof. Jeong, Yonsei University,

First, I wanted to let you know that this is the right blog. I was so glad to get news of you recently, or more accurately news that my fucked-up news had reached you. And I was moved by and can imagine your reaction. It's been too long since we've seen each other and I hope, as always, only the best for you. I miss being able to drop in and discuss aleatory marxism, Althusser, and modern poetry. Whether the category "lyric" is salvageable let alone salutary . . . figuring out what Hwang Jiwoo is talking about . . . So much there left undiscussed. Also, I'm sorry if the pseudonym threw you off track, my nom de geurre, as it were. For professional reasons I witheld my real name initially and the "Mr. Jones" trope, though I haven't yet discussed its why's and wherefore's, has proven useful in unexpected ways. Let's talk soon, I'll try to email.

*There is a certain clarity I possess, or feel possessed of these days, only occasionally, usually around this hour of twilight — not meant to sound either Romantic or mystical, just noting the phenomenon — so at this time, when the combination of hunger / fullness, pain / nonpain, nausea / calm, etc. settles down below the most obvious level of consciousness, then I feel my fingers freed up (odd metaphor of the keyboard age), and a certain sense of vision accompanies this: not Blakean, or Ginsbergian (after Blake) but more Spinozist, it's almost scientific, that of a lens grinder, someone who is thinking of visual theory at the same time as rhetoric. I hope it combines to produce somthing lucid or pellucid even or even merely reflective of the clarity. Jibberish? Could be. Oxycotton? Could be.

*An Anonymous commentor posted a few questions on the post called
"What Cannot be Said" from two days ago; it ran as follows:

"question to consider (or not?)? [a] what if all questions are the wrong questions at this moment?
[b] it isn't as simple as what to do with your time;
[c] rather, what will you do regardless?

[d] not what to do in the time left, but what would you do anyways, given one week or one year?

[e] what defines the life you have chosen?" [I've added the letters for easier reference.]

The final question #e I can answer with some confidence, what defines a life, whether chosen or fallen into,
is always the same it seems: it's action, the practices of everyday life, movement, activity.
All the talk and hyperbole, all the promises and the efforts, all the intentions and the apologies,
and finally, all the ideals and the general wishes or desires — none of it means more than a passing comment in a dark bar,
in the end. Part of a failed seduction. In the middle and the beginning, too, it's nearly meaningless, however, we can more easily kid ourselves, succumb to an ideology that allows us to remain productive.
After all is said and done only the book that is published, printed, or passed around and read at least, is the book that counts. All the ideas for other books, all the drafts (in the mind) and sketchy notes, uncompiled notes don't count.
The Other ideal profession doesn't count, only the one you actually did. Me, professor, modern Korean literature, poetry, aesthetic theory. Like it or not, that's what defines me, it's where I've come. Most simply put, I can't help but think more and more surely over recent years & especially now, that only what one does is what defines one's life.

As a brief interjection, these questions have all been covered on the blog before. In fact, they're nearly the primary philosophical or psychological reason for starting, for figuring it out. That said, I'm glad they're raised again since revisiting them now and then is always a good idea. Too, things change quickly in the Big Casino.
(And too also, it's good to have comments to engage with now and then on the blog.)

Question #d is, to put it rather directly, not relevant. Not anymore, not to me during this period.
The meaning of all activity has radically changed for me since I was introduced to terminal cancer, except to the extent that I think of the act / action as described in the paragraph above.
To ask what "I" would do "regardless" (#c and #d) of this situaiton means to ignore this situation;
one would have to confront it head on and then decide to live in defiance of its reality.
I think that's somewhat counterproductive, especially in light of the numerous ephiphanies the experience affords.
So much new insight to be had from the 2x4-across-the-head nature of this new knowledge,
that not only am I mortal (of course) but that my mortality has been radically foreshortened into a number of months
I'm supposed to be able to count on my hands.
(The timeline now, based on admittedly less than ideal statistical averages, in fact puts down the number of months like this.) Finally and practically, I probably would not be concerned with writing a memoir currently without the news.
Life's obligations would push all that aside.

I suppose the latter two questions addressed would be quite on target for someone at home with eternal recurrence, someone unquestionably not possessed by the notion of "the grass is greener," someone who had made all the "perfect" life choices and was either in unquestionable love with her work or independently wealthy. Wouldn't it be nice — sorry, not be sarcastic toward anyone who's so comfortable in their skin (and / or loaded), it's just never been me.

On #b, looks like I screwed up my numbering.

On #a, I wonder the same frequently: do they need to be asked? The facile Socratic retort doesn't apply I think; and yet if there is ever a time to do perhaps this precisely is the time . . .?
One thing for sure, and no one every said I wasn't picky about language, but the logic of "at this moment"
does miss the primary fact of what it means to be confronted "prematurely" with death.
The Moment becomes This one, for better or worse.
The next moment may never come.

And how can I resist the return to aleatory marxism, above, to note again that
"the lonely moment of the last instance never comes"?
Perhaps it's time for me to reevaluate that proposition in light of my new context . . .

Posted by Mr. Jones at 7:15 PM

8:25 PM, July 15, 2006

Slarry said...
Sat. July 15, 2006

Mr. J:

After we spoke this morning, I revisited your post from yesterday. I am so glad I did.
Throughout your eloquent writing ( and by the way, are you aware that almost everything you write; every phrase, sentence and chosen word, sounds poetic? ) --- yesterday’s post seemed especially poignant, remarkable, useful and full of insight.

Thank you for allowing me to see and learn to understand more in depth how that beautiful mind of yours works--- what you think about mortality, more specifically, your own mortality, and more so, how you have come to your conclusions. Your beliefs on life.

Also, I am glad the Professor and you were able to get in touch with one another.
That letter was endearing.

Thank you also for reminding me, that life is what you do, what you’ve done and are doing---
not just thinking and talking about.
The lesson here shouldn’t be profound, but not living, not doing, is precisely what some of us waste our time on.
Myself, by far, being one of the worse offenders.

I felt that the questions the anonymous person posted were very relevant and gave me pause. I am so aware that too many of us take life and living for granted. So, good things to think about and consider. Like me, I am so aware that currently I am merely existing, living half of the life that you are, half of the life I'm capable of. Or more to the point, you are actively living a real life. An honest and authentic one.

Because you are, and actually have, with or without the cancer that continues to threaten and shorten your time, your life----always LIVED. The cancer seems to have only made you more passionate, more directed.

I really can’t recall a time when you were not actively and anxiously engaged in life, not just professionally, but also in your desire to learn and study anything of worth.
This is why I say and refer to you as being remarkable--- most people don’t do this. I certainly don’t, but your life and words inspire me to move, to act, to do something purposeful.
This has been a theme that has defined and been a part of you for as long as I can remember. It is one of the characteristics I love and respect most about you---
your clarity, your fearlessness, your tenacity.

And for what it is worth, this is why I feel so safe around you, this is why I say you amaze me.
This is probably why Mr. Franky often refers to that beautiful mind of yours.
It is also one of the main reasons our dear nephew, Dan, held you in such esteem. He wanted to be you.
Thank you for that. What a priceless and precious gift.

And I did figure out the dashboard all by myself--- and it felt good. What a geek. : )

Love you--- and appreciate your always giving me something to think about,
and gently coaxing me along to want to do more, be better.
It gave me a nice ( loving ) kick in the buttocks.

I hope your evening is comfortable and enjoyed.


3:26 PM, July 16, 2006
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About Me

Mr. Jones (Scott Swaner)
Seattle, Capitol Hill, Washington, United States
Mr. Jones, aka Scott Swaner, passed away December 20, 2006 in Seattle, WA. of Pancreatic Cancer.
This is his blog, his words, feelings and thoughts through out his journey, his fight against Cancer.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Life and Death, or Rather the Love and Death of Daniel Ray Luna (1981-2005)

This is the Eulogy Scott gave at our oldest nephews Funeral, Daniel Luna.
Daniel Ray Swaner Luna was a mere 23 years old at the time of his death.
It was unexpected, harsh, and difficult on our entire family.
Most especially, my sister, Sue and Dan's siblings.
Other than his brothers Scott was not only Dan's uncle, but his best friend and mentor.

Scott was diagnosed with Stage IV Terminal Pancreatic Cancer 13 months after eulogizing Dan.
I can only hope that they are somewhere together,
with my Mom, listening and playing Jazz, reading and writing poems-
with Scott on the Sax and Dan on the piano or guitar.

Scott's mentions Daniel in this blog on several occasions-
Dedicated at least two full posts and wrote a poem titled, The Premonition.

You can look the post up in the "search" available at the top of this post-
and hopefully, soon, I will become more fluent in the blogging process
and be able to link the post and poem here.

“The Life and Death, or Rather the Love and Death
of Daniel Ray Luna (1981-2005)—In Memoriam”

2 March 2005, Salt Lake City, Utah

How do we begin? How do we remember Daniel Ray Luna?
What do we do with our love for him now that he’s gone?

My mother told me something growing up, an aphorism, one that I always took as part of her personal store of wisdom.
Of difficult times she would say: “If it doesn’t kill us, it will only make us stronger.”
It was only much later I learned that someone before her had also said this—Nietzsche.
It made for a curious connection and it was burned into my memory.
Now another line from Nietzsche comes to mind: “—pain is the most powerful aid to mnemonics”
(On the Genealogy of Morals 61). Not that we would otherwise forget. . .

In trying to make sense of this, of death and trauma, of frustrated youth
and one amazing soul being torn from what seemed to be the whole fabric of life—
all this in Daniel’s passing—I have been looking more carefully at death to understand that fabric,
now with a gaping hole that surrounds me. Look around. It surrounds all of us.
Daniel’s departure left this hole for everyone who knew him.
Daniel’s very existence showed us that his was an amazing soul—he would either shine or extinguish,
but would not live, or could not live--like so many of us do--in the spaces in-between.
His was not a common soul. When he smiled you sensed this: he either smiled as if he knew something you didn’t,
or he laughed in complete transparency.

Since the middle of Friday night, when too many of us were ripped from an ignorant sleep,
I’ve been searching for “death.” What now? What next?
The more I looked around for “death” the more I found that another term, another experience,
always seemed to occupy the same page:
wherever I found “death” I seemed to find “love,” someone’s love.
This poem is one example:

“42. love is more thicker than forget”

love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky (CP 530)

So there we have it, from the poet e.e. cummings: we have love and memory,
we have love over death, and we have love above all else.
Is there anything else we see with more brilliant clarity at this moment?
“That which takes place out of love takes place beyond good and evil” (Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil 103).
In love, in acts of love, in acts of loving memory, we are not working in conflict with someone else’s version of right
and wrong.
Today in memoriam, we are not here as believers and non-believers, as faithful and faithless,
we are here as family. The family first, the family beyond forgetting, the family of Daniel Ray.

When we think of death we are most commonly strictured in our minds by what we assume is the usual pairing of experiences and feelings—in other words, the pair, Life and Death.
This, however, begs the question: should we think of these as a natural pair?
The answer is no: rather, it should be thought as Love and Death.
Because life and death are not opposites, they are the same.
Love and death are opposed, and yet complimentary.
It is through love that death acquires meaning, it is through love that death becomes more than Nothingness with a capital “N.”
I used to know a poet who would say of poetry, and therefore of life,
that “Fear of loss is every lover’s fear.”
If death is the personification of loss, then the lover, is left alone by death,
alone to live on until released from, or reconstituted by that loss.

To state it differently, without love death means nothing, it is scientific, numerical, and perfunctory.
To say this is to disagree with e.e. cummings, elsewhere, where he writes,
“And death i think is no parentheses.”
That is the final line in one of his poems, and coupled with the line before it, we see a fuller picture:

for life’s not a paragraph
And death i think is no parentheses (CP 291).

Life, of course, as Daniel has reminded us, it simply dies: death, of course,
is already dead, leaving us with love alone.
Love alone survives.
Love alone resists.
To put it in the harshest possible light, love alone is too goddam stubborn
or stupid to know any better.
So we are left here, after Dan, either too ignorant or too intransigent, standing gaping around this frightful
rent in life’s fabric.
The gaping hole in meaning were Daniel used to stand.

How long will the edge of this fabric support us? We wonder while we weep and gaze into that oblivion.
On this side of death we are only left to remember—
with pain as the most powerful reminder; we are left to be chastened, at least a little;
and we are left to be admonished, somehow, next time, to do better.

Again, from e.e. cummings:

“dying is fine)but Death”

dying is fine)but Death


wouldn’t like

Death if Death

when (instead of stopping to think)you

begin to feel of it,dying
‘s miraculous

cause dying is

perfectly natural;perfectly
it mildly lively(but


is strictly
& artificial &

evil & legal)

we thank thee god
almighty for dying

(forgive us,o life!the sin of Death (CP 604)

And finally this, to Daniel,
whose flame burned hot before flickering and being snuffed:

death (having lost) put on his universe
and yawned:it looks like rain
(they’ve played for timelessness
with chips of when)
that’s yours;i guess
you’ll have to loan me pain
to take the hearse,
see you again. (CP 451)©©©

Scott H Swaner

© Scott H Swaner
used with permission
from the Scott H Swaner foundation fund.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Reprise from Frank, of the Franky Scale "Mr. Jones & Family

Tuesday, August 22, 2006
8.22.06, Guest Blog. Melancholy and Mystery of Family - A Salt Lake Journey by FGC

[Hey. Here's going to be a Guest Blog from Frank, from the Utah trip last week, a few days old but it's the process of digesting and the digest of processing that was required. Frank also gave it to me two days ago and the remainder is my process of putting off a bit, as is my wont. Today's Franky Scale is an 8, physically pretty good, emotionally very good, a visit from the Disenchanted Princess begins. Also, Mme X had a momentous day that I'm happy about and glad to share part of, so these things add up. Huge congrats to you X. Now, I'm just going to check some edits on the post and will be back with it shortly, tonight. I'll leave this up for most of tomorrow, and if I come with a post of substance I'll put it up at night. Peace.]

Guest Blog:

The Melancholy and Mystery of Family – A Salt Lake Journey.

Traveling across the country to visit a dying friend sucks. Never mind the crowds, crying babies, shoe removal and metal objects at the security points. It’s the anxiety of seeing your dying friend and the fact that you are fucking helpless to fix him. My visit with Mr. Jones was not my last precious moments with him but it crosses your mind. Is this the last time?

My visit with Mr. Jones and his family was bittersweet. When it comes to talking about families and the nuisances between all the players –well…. People in glasses houses, if you catch my drift. Three older sisters, a saint of a mother, a nonexistent father, partners, nephews, beautiful babies, the best fucking carrot cake I still think about, and the ubiquitous drama that exists between all families. A friend once told me spending time with families is like being around fish. After three days they start to stink. Amazingly,
It was five days and the fish remained edible.

We all cope with loss differently. I tend to cry a lot. I think about the living Scott and I have shared and put the impending death of my friend out of my mind until we started to talk about what to leave behind and executing a will. Then it hits you. That is living in the now, the harsh reality of losing a loved one, family or friend. It’s reality punching you in the Adam's apple, you can’t talk or even breathe…. So you just listen. Listen to your friend – Always.

The drama started before I even arrived at Sheri and Stepheni’s. The details are hard to grasp – almost unbelievable, and you wonder what the fuck was the person thinking. So I listened and listened more, digesting the events of earlier that day that I wasn’t around to see. A conflict of sorts between Mr. J and someone close to him. We all cope differently – Right?
Mr. Jones manned up and settled that one.

I spent hours with Sheri and Steph, and there was great pain in that too, the impending unbearable loss of a brother who may be put on a pedestal but I have to say… rightly so. I stood under a full moon with a grieving sister who no doubt loves her brother and we tried to make sense of the senseless.

I visited Stepheni at her office to steal her wheels and met her coworkers,
Who all knew Mr. Jones from this blog. The palpable concern and genuine emotion from all of them was there too; more coping skills and support from distantly related, somewhat anonymous blog readers, who were in the midst of a dying cyber celebrity.
Greetings and gratitude to you guys at the Data Center from Mr. McMahon,
(ask Steph to explain that one).

The big Sunday family get together was marred somewhat by the lack of some family not posting, showing up, on what will most likely be the last time you will all be together…at least with Scott in SLC. I can’t remember the excuse given for why “they” did not come, that is something they will have to live with.
Sue and Susan were fantastic hosts and coping skills were again ever present-- with good food, conversation, and stories; and for the few times when the harsh reality of Mr. Jones’s condition slipped in, I was aided with help from my “nurse” who made the name “Collins” proud.
To all Scott’s nieces and nephews you were huge to come and show your uncle how much you care. In the end it is your family that will always come through. After the party, Mr. J and I paid our respects to Daniel at his grave and he reflected on his own loss, losing Daniel. The mystery of his nephew’s life and death still haunts him. The sun began to fall and cast long shadows on the tombstones as we left, That moment will remain with me forever.

Finally, how will I ever forget looking into the eyes of a grieving mother struggling with the loss of her only son? Nadine, you will always be in my heart. If the miracle you want happens I will sign up with Mr. Smith. Your bran muffins and carrot cake are made with huge love, and as I walked by the pan of carrot cake and stole another fraction of your cake, each time I realized food is yet another coping program. It is also comforting, knowing it was made by you with love. Nadine, I love you for your honesty and admire your faith.
More importantly, thank you for giving me the pleasure of knowing your son.
I hope to one day share all your infinite wisdom with my own family, along with my many memories of your son.

Sheri and Steph – thank you for your hospitality again – I love you both!
Mr. Jones….. I am always listening. NO pain please! Do what ever it takes….but please…no pain for you.


Posted by Mr. Jones at 10:33 PM


Slarry said...
Dear Mr. Frank:

I am a grieving sister and you, the loyal and ultimate ( grieving) friend. We were as one, under the full moon that night; our tears flowing freely, taking solace in each other’s company. Completely unified in the knowledge, that he, Mr. Jones, is unique in all the world. The thought of him not being available to learn, love and laugh with, the loss of Scott--- the most unbearable pain we could imagine. 

You are like my “other brother”--
such fine and similar characteristics; characteristics and gifts that Mr. Jones has always freely, unconditionally provided and offered me: feelings of safety, a sense of calm and stability, keeping me grounded and the warmth and comfort that can come, when one feels understood by a sibling and a loyal friend. I thank both you and Scott for that-- for years of making me feel understood and loved.

What a gift you are ... such joy, comfort and renewed strength you brought with you from New York, showering it on every one of us. For Steph and I, you truly are our favorite. Not only a term of endearment that we have always said concerning you; you are the real deal, our dear, dear friend, and for me personally, like a second brother. Thank you for that. We love you more than we can articulate, probably more than you know.

Your genuine attentiveness, concern and admiration towards our Mother, probably added years to her life. I want to thank you for that and more. Sometimes the one’s who deserve our admiration the most, the people who teach and love us unconditionally, get thanked less often. Thank you for appreciating and enjoying Scott’s Mom, my Mom, as we do. She is a Saint and does make the best Bran muffins. But you also scored a full pan of carrot cake as well. : ) That is huge, my friend.

Other than mine and Steph’s love and gratitude for you and how you have helped us through many emotional and difficult moments, I mostly want to thank you and acknowledge the great friendship you and Scott share. It is a thing of sheer beauty-- and helps this grieving sister, feel a little less anxious about my brother’s impending death. 

I try not to think about it-- try and stay present in the here and now, but the fact remains that my favorite person is suffering unimaginable pain and having his beautiful life, his beautiful mind cut far too short. This is where the senselessness comes, my trying to understand and believe that this is really happening. And it does bring with it questions about the meaning and purpose of life--- why Scott? Why a terminal cancer? He is the healthiest man I know. And especially, why my favorite person, the one I lean on and learn from the most? The one person in our family, other than our Mother, who has the most to offer this world.
I will never understand.

And to my brother: reading, hearing about and observing, at times, your level of discomfort, anguish and pain, is so harsh and unbearable. I hate the pain. I hate that you are suffering and that there is not one stinking thing I can do about it. I can’t fix it. But I am here and I can listen, always.

Thank you Mr. Frank for writing your third guest blog. For stepping up and having the courage to tell it like it is. The “no shows,” the absent and anonymous father--- but also, and most importantly, appreciating the greatness and unique impact that my brother has on others. Also, for the perfect example and a testament to true friendship. You are a class act, my friend. Selfless, and darn influential as well. You too, leaving your mark- imprints in the hearts of many.

You are huge Franky and we love you. Can’t wait to see you again.
This is not good-bye. My plan is to be wherever my brother is. So I will hook up with you there soon. Hopefully, there will be a hot tub for you to splash around in. I’ll try not to peek. : )

Big, big love to my brother. And to Ms. X, we congratulate and celebrate you too. Scott, you have some great and supportive friends. So loving, so loyal, so cool. But really, how could one not be drawn to you?
Don’t worry-- I won’t do the pedestal thing. It is just that I love and care for you so much and for so many reasons. You have been an unequalled gift in my life, equally as long. You remain so, and always and forever, will be my most precious. 

Thank you again, franky. And love you most and infinitely my brother.


Give Gill, the Princess and Ted a hug for us.

8:28 AM, August 23, 2006
34DD said...
Wow! - it's hard to top that comment so I won't dare try. I'm just glad that Francis was able to write down his thoughts about the trip to see Mr. J - the stories have been spilling out all week. Thanks to S & S for taking such great care of my boy & your boy & to your mom who kept them well fed! Everyone needs a little comfort food now and then. 

Mr Jonsey - I'm psyched that yesterday was an 8. I hope today is an 11. No more pain. Please tell Miss K we said HEEEEYYYYY and give her a squeeze for me (wink wink :) oxoxoxo lot's of love and good thoughts from NY.

Sir Frank, thank you for this and many, many other acts of unconditional love
and Grace.  Scott loved you so much- but you already know that.
Please know that we do too.
Hope this finds you well.
Forever & Always, you truly are my FAVORITE!
loves, Sheri

Friday, September 05, 2008


For the first time we can envision the possibility of stopping cancer in its tracks.

But just when science is on the verge of giving us the breakthroughs that can end cancer,
the will and the funding to do so are disappearing from the national agenda and from our collective consciousness.

Cancer takes one person every minute. One life in a moment.

They are our brothers, our sisters, our fathers and mothers, our husbands and wives,

Our best friends, our children, ourselves.

Every day in America 1500 people die and yet the means to save them are literally within our reach.

To wait any longer for someone else to save our lives and the lives of those we love is unforgivable.

Inspired to act by our own personal experiences with cancer,

We recognize that we can no longer rely on the current system alone to give us the breakthroughs we need.

So, we are calling on the public to help take matters into our own hands, investing in a revolution

That will change the way scientist and clinicians work to understand and treat these diseases.

Stand Up To Cancer is more than a rallying cry. It is a galvanizing force created to urgently move cancer research forward.

This is where the end of cancer begins: when we unite in one unstoppable movement and:

Stand Up To Cancer.


Thursday, September 04, 2008


Sage, wise words from the Master:
Elvis Costello.

Hey Brother, Scott!

I'm sending this out to you and your ska brothers.
Knowing if you were here, you would be fighting, protesting and pleading;
DOING everything in your power, to fight for peace and bring about change.

Love and Miss you, Monkey-Man


P.S. I hope you, Dan and Nadine are taking care of one another.
Give yourselves *hugs* from me.

Monday, July 28, 2008

One Sister's Perspective

Written initially, as a "comment" to Scott's post on September 11, 2006.

Re-posted today, almost two years later, as another member of our family,
Has recently been diagnosed with Cancer.
This comment feels as though I barely wrote it.

I miss my brother. I miss my Mom. We all do!

I am going to fight and support my brother In-Law, and his wife
(my sister)
With every resource available. Peace and love to both of you. sas

Others, too, that I'm close to-

Have lost their Mother, Brother, Sister, Father, Son or Daughter, or a dear Friend
In the months since Scott passed away.
Countless other's are dealing with their own illness, be it Cancer or some 
other life threatening disease.
Please know, my heart, and love are being sent your way.

I will continue to fight against Cancer, whether I am donating my time, or money,
Or preparing a meal, or offering a shoulder to cry or lean on. Anything and Everything!
That is the least I can do.
It's the least we all should be doing.

Thanks to all of you who were, and remained, so supportive, kind and selfless 
in your caring for Scott.
Thanks to my friends, also, who have been patient, loving, kind, gracious-    long suffering
Who have also spread rays of sunshine, and kept my feet on the ground 
and moving forward.

As I continue the journey of redefining my life, living my life, without the blessing
Of having my Brother and Mother physically near, I can hear and feel them 
poking, coaxing and encouraging me.  I cannot help but listen.

A special thought for Kerry and Stacey Swaner Moore; I am here, just down the road a bit,
if you need ANYTHING.
Cancer is so....   what? Intrusive, indiscriminate and penetrating.
It has no manners.
I will continue to fight; raging war against this senseless disease, 
that seems to effect so many more with each new day.

My best to all of you,


[comment post coming... technical difficulties and other duties requiring my attention]  :  )

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Continued Offering of Mr. Jones

JULY 13, 2008

An  Offering of Food:  By Chef Scott

Mr. Jones  (aka Scott Swaner)

Creating a culinary delight, featuring; Grilled Salmon, Fresh Spinach Salad with
bits of bacon, crushed blue cheese, walnuts and pears
and of course,  Rice.

The feast was delicious, by the way.

photo taken in 2004, at Sheri and [Steph's]** house.

Steph is no longer a part of Mr. Jone's family.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Remembering Mr. Jones (Scott Swaner) photos

Mr. Professor Jones, hanging in his office at The University of Washington.

Scott in Korea with a friend

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

"LIFE IS LIFE - Not to be Squandered" By Dave

Thank you Dave, for this and many other things.

Scott Swaner
By Dave
January 7, 2007
I first met Scott in English class when we were freshmen at East High School. He was smart, really really smart.
The trick was that he was witty and outgoing and cool on top of being smart.
Scott wore black and white wingtipped shoes to school because "he" thought they were cool,
nevermind what anyone else thought. That was Scott– he decided what he wanted to do
and went after it will all his guts. The same could be said for his music, skating, schoolage, and girls.
Later, at University, Scott pointed out the best looking girl on campus (and she was at the time), and told me he would marry her (we had only met her a few hours earlier). Sure enough, six months later, Scott married her.

Scott saved my soul on more than one occasion. he showed me there is meaning in life–
the meaning is living itself. Scott made me watch “The Razor’s Edge” at least twice, until I got it.
Life is life– not to be squandered.
In this movie, two characters sit in a foxhole in WWI, lamenting the loss of their close friend,
who only moments before jumped on top of a grenade to save their lives.
In some odd ritual, they listed out the vices of their dead friend, and– through their tears–
tell each other that he will not be missed.

Scott lost a battle to cancer last month. He was 38.
He likely lived more in those 38 years than many many of us could even hope to do in an entire lifetime.
Scott was brash, smart, quick, and charming. he could cut quick with a comment,
but follow up with a trusting support that let others knew he would back them no matter what.
Scott was one of my oldest and closest friends.

He will be missed.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

In Memory Of Nadine Swaner, our Mom

For our beloved Mother:


September 13, 1927 ---- January 13, 2006

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Dear family, friends and loved ones,
Today, at 3:25 pm, our wonderful, beautiful Mother, Wife, Grandmother, Aunt and friend,
Nadine Cox Swaner, died at the Huntsman Cancer Institute,
surrounded by her family.

It was only one week ago that we were together with many of you,
as we grieved, honored and paid tribute to our brother, her son, Scott.
They were such dear and tender friends and so close.
Their bond and love for one another was deeper and stronger than anyone could imagine.
As tragic as the loss is that we feel today, we are grateful knowing they are not alone.
But together; able to enjoy, laugh and learn from each other, as they always have.
They are both now free from pain. This brings us some comfort.

The loss of our Mom, the loss of a Mother is especially difficult.
She has loved, protected and taught us so, so much.
She is unique in all the world. We count ourselves particularly lucky
and blessed to have been hers.

She is grand, eloquent, beautiful, selfless and long suffering.
She will be remembered most for her graciousness, generosity,
unconditional and boundless love and strength. She lived a determined and purposeful life.
She is the strongest woman we know. Her faith and love for her Heavenly Father is unparalleled.

A gentle woman, with a twinkle in her eyes and a smile that could light up every room
and brighten any heart. She brightened all of ours.

We love you Mom! Infinitely and Eternally.
We will always miss you more than you will ever know.
Our hearts are broken and we are so, so sad.
No one, and nothing prepares one adequately for the loss, the death of your Mother.
We promise that we will love and cling to one another, forever and always
and think of you every minute of every day
and be grateful for every stolen moment and memory we shared with you.


Sue, Sheri, Stacey ( and Scott )

We know that for many of you, our Mom’s death comes as a shock.
Many of you were not aware that she was ill.
Please feel free to contact us and we will help as best we can.

Sue Swaner:
Sheri Swaner:
Stacey Swaner Moore:

A Mother's Love
A mother's love determines how
 we love ourselves and others.

There is no sky we'll ever see

Not lit by that first love.
Stripped of love, the universe

Would drive us mad with pain;

But we are born into a world

That greets our cries with joy.
How much I owe you for the kiss

That told me who I was.

The greatest gift--a love of life--
Lay laughing in your eyes.

Because of you my world still has

The soft grace of your smile;

And every wind of fortune bears

The scent of your caress.

Nicholas Gordon