He had been battling Leukemia for most of the past year, after the community swiftly came to his aid after hearing of the diagnosis and his inability to afford treatment. He seemed to be in the clear for several months after completing treatment, but then learned in December that the cancer was back and that he would have to return to chemotherapy.
Here is a letter that he wrote to the community at that time. It is instructive:
I wanted to write this letter to all my people because I honestly feel that without y’all, I wouldn’t be here. The love and support you have shared with me saved my life. So now I share my life with you. I love all of you and like a lover I am willing to stand naked before you and bare my soul. No shame, no lies and no excuses. I am writing this letter from an infusion room at the cancer clinic I go to. I found out Friday that I was relapsing, it was confirmed yesterday.
A plan was made and I am now receiving chemotherapy. Please don’t worry for me as I am not worried for myself. I have faith and therefore I know I will be okay no matter what the outcome. Beliefs change, faith knows. Just as I have faith in me and know all will be well, I have faith in every one of you. You are my family and I know that even if I have to leave, each one of you will grow and prosper in your own time. Even if I don’t get to see it, I know that will be the case.
With that being said, I need to ask a favor of you once again. All I ask is that you listen to my words and if they resonate in your heart that you hold them there, deeply, as a lover would. I truly believe and have faith that those of us who are in my situation were given a gift. We are messengers and we have a message for you. I truly love you and ask that the love and support you have shown me you show to every brother and sister in our human family. I have a secret for you, we are all going to die and love shouldn’t have to wait until then.
Peace & Love
For those who do not know who Will was - he was a local artist and activist. And a frequent customer at Darling. He loved the neighborhood and the neighborhood loved him. I wish that I had known him better; and even for the little bit that I did know him, I will miss him.