Front of the Line

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“Ring them bells…”

Dateline:  Where Wishes Reside

Ring them bells…for your neighbor in hospice.

Ring them bells…for the family weeping in the waiting room.

Ring them bells…for those kneeling at the grave.

Ring them bells…for the front of the line.


“…for the blind and the deaf…”

Between this morning, and tonight, 1,479 people will die from cancer.

Between every morning and every night, 1,479 people die from cancer.  Every hour, 60 of our friends and family, are taken from us by cancer.  By the time you finish this column, 15 people will be gone from the front of the line.

“…ring them bells…”

After writing “Angels & Heroes,” I got dozens and dozens of emails about the story, well over a hundred or so by now.

Somewhere through the tears of the writers, there were always two words, every email, no matter how long, or short, how poignant, how sad, somewhere within, had these two words:

“I wish….”

Wishes for Kevin.  And I too have wishes for Kevin.

But you need to know this, Kevin also has wishes.
Wishes for you.

All of us behind him in the line.

“…for all of us…”

Your place in line affects your view.  But there is a place in line where your view of life becomes crystal clear.  And those who I have known who have stood there and were given a peek all told me they saw and felt the same thing.


The love you make, is the love you take, to the front of the line.

I’ll tell you the honest, no BS truth, it tore me up to write that story. There are still the stains of tear drops on my keyboard, but I always try to come away with a little sliver of the person who I pound the keys about, as I have from Kevin.

From Kevin, I took one word, and only one word.  A word you don’t hear often today, at least not in the way it relates to each and every one of us.


“db, I don’t hold my children anymore, I embrace them.”

Embrace.  I will never see a picture of Kevin without hearing that word.  I will never ever again write “Embrace….” this or that, Embrace Learning, Embrace Change…blah. blah, blah…

For Kevin, for the rest of my life, the word Embrace will only be used when loved ones are held in your arms.  Kevin, my friend, please know that in a small way you have changed my life forever in showing me that Embrace can only mean, love…as you have for Katherine, Stella and Evelyn.

“…who are left…”

Kevin’s wish.

I’m sure he has many, as we all do, but I know of one he specifically told me.

Know your place in line.

Kevin’s wish for you…GET MEDICAL CHECKUPS.  If you think something doesn’t feel right, have it checked out.

Your place in line depends on it.

Regular check-ups will save your life.  Don’t take better care of your automobile, then you do of yourself.

My wish.

Ring them bells…for the 1479 who will die today from cancer.

Ring them bells…for the more than 500,000 who will die this year from cancer.

Ring them bells…for the front of the line.

And that you hear those bells, and take care of yourself, with regular check-ups.

So that someday, there will be no reason to…

…ring them bells.

“…oh the lines are long,

and the fighting is strong.”

Ring Them Bells

Bob Dylan