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Some great thoughts on remembering Jim Chastain

by Alan Herzberger Modified: April 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm •  Published: January 8, 2010
On Dec. 23, 2009, Jim Chastain died.

From the NewsOK obit:

Jim Chastain, whose fight for survival was chronicled in The Oklahoman and on, died Wednesday night after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 46.

You can read much more on our “Life is Real” page on NewsOK, which we began in early of 2009. Poetically, it ended near the end of 2009.

When I first met Jim, he stated that if he can accomplish anything with his blog about living with terminal cancer, he can remind people that ‘life is real.’ Unfortunately, I have to summarize the quote because I didn’t write it word for word, but his way of saying it was much more eloquent. All I know is that it struck me as a simple and powerful statement and a noble objective.

Here are some excerpts from the “Life is Real” page after Jim’s death.

From Charlotte Lankard’s story about Jim:

Just once more, I’d like to sit across from him having a cup of coffee. Just once more, I’d like to hear him read poetry to me. Just once more I’d like to hear him brag on LeAnn, Maddye and Ford. Just once more I’d like to share a hug.

From JJ in OKC on Jim’s online Guestbook:

I never knew Jim but followed his blog religiously. His approach to fighting this terrible disease with honesty and humor was truly amazing. After recently going through the same thing with my Mom, I could empathize every step of the way. Even though some of his entries were hard to read (I laughed and cried with each), the way he dealt with his cancer helped me deal with my grief. Thanks Jim! You will be missed.

From Charlotte Lankard’s blog post, which showcases the farewell poem from Jim:

I’d been wanting to write a poem that says goodbye, but spares readers from the melodrama of poems that say goodbye.

This resulted in writer’s block, for the thought that these might be the actual words that would someday be read at my funeral made me creatively constipated.

And my personal favorite, a comment from on Jim’s blog, where we shared the information about the memorial service:

Jim Chastain’s courage and humor in sharing his and his family’s journey with cancer have brought me stamina and admiration. I take exception with the posting titled “Jim Chastain has died.” Instead I say, now Jim begins to really live. He is truly free of all pain of his disease and the worries of this life. True he leaves his family, his many friends, and his readers small in his wake, but as for me, I am much richer for having read his words, his poetry, his news stories. I say, here was a hero in our midst who demonstrated to us all what it is like to live like each day might be your last. Fly away, sweet Jim! May God’s angels wing thee to thy rest.

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by Alan Herzberger
Digital Managing Editor
Alan Herzberger is the Digital Managing Editor for and The Oklahoman. He focuses on content within OPUBCO Communications Group’s variety of digital products. He’s been with The Oklahoman since 1997, when he joined the sports...
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