“Hello Mervin? Is that you?”

“Yes I’m pretty sure it is,” he playfully replied. I took a deep breath and smiled.


The audio recording (above) was captured about two years ago when Mervin and I lived in the same Fraser Valley community. We both relocated shortly after that and hadn’t communicated since. A few weeks before this recording was made Mervin was diagnosed with stomach cancer and decided not to have the surgery. Well it’s all on the recording…

I’ve thought of him often over the last few years but fear kept me from calling. I didn’t want to get the ‘this number is not in service’ message or reach a family member who would have to relay news to me that I did not want to hear. Not the strongest reasons but sometimes I do the weakest shit. Today I called.

“I’m cancer free,” he says in his perfect high-pitched voice. Mervin went on to tell me that he decided to go the wholistic route; keeping a positive frame of mind (that’s the easy part for him) and completely changing his diet, living on vegetables and fruits and removing all sugars, wheat, dairy, caffeine, etc — and it worked.

‘Remarkable’ was the word that kept popping into my mind when I first met him two years prior; so positive, so full of spirit, running his thrift store business on his own, hauling sofas, hanging art from the ceiling, open long hours including most evenings and at 81 years of age. And now beats cancer. Remarkable, many times over.

Another recording to come later this summer.

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