Death comes to us all, how you greeted makes all the difference.
Fanu, short for Stefan, was the last Damean son, and number eleven in the long line of siblings. He entered this world in December 1991 and left it far too early.
Fanu had a generally calm personality, loved playing with his small cars, usually with his brother Alex, and loved to dream together about their future. Soccer was another game he practiced often in the dusty apartment courtyard of a gray and small town full of factory workers’ children. Life, as he knew it, was satisfactory even if at times shadowed by his father’s angry episodes. Fanu was still at an age where that meant little, just another day in his life, unaware of the grievances abuse brings once you understand what’s happening. In that regard he was spared.
A very competitive character, with a very giving nature, always making big plans of charitable gestures towards someone he loved or was in need. Unfortunately, we’ll never know what his life would’ve been like, but in a way he’s free of pain and sorrow now.
In the spring of 2002 (February) Fanu began having splitting headaches with a tremendous amount of pain around his left temporal area and began isolating himself in dark corners of the apartment. My mother took him to the local clinic where, without a proper examination, was prescribed some medication. It did not work. His fever became alarmingly high while the pain persisted and my mom took him to the local hospital. He was admitted for two weeks getting a daily dose of antibiotics (ampicillin) shots. He then was discharged but a few weeks later (March) when his fever and pain returned with a vengeance my mom and Delia took him to the emergency. Instead of admitting him the doctor in charge sent them to the contagious diseases hospital in Hunedoara. There they had to wait quit a bit, despite the fact that Fanu, now lying on a hospital bed in the waiting room, was crying complaining of intense pain on his left temporal zone. Upon examination the doctor discovered a partial facial paralysis on his left, and sent them immediately to a hospital in Timisoara specializing in contagious diseases and also known to be a good hospital. He was moved back and forth between couple hospitals (intensive care, neurology, contagious diseases) in Timisoara and misdiagnosed quite a bit. From being able to take small walks in the hospital’s court-yard anytime Alin visited, within weeks he became completely paralyzed, unable to eat solids while constantly on IV. The next time Fanu came back home, he was resting in a coffin.
In Timisoara’s hospitals he waisted away rapidly until May 27th when he died. My mom spent countless hours around the clock by his side, relived temporarily so she could rest by Delia and my brother Alin. By the time I came to see him he shrunk in size and all musculature mass was gone, he was paralyzed and no longer could talk, communicating by writing messages on pieces of paper. He was literally skin and bone and I could see the shape of his heart while beating, lifting a very thin layer of white and dry skin. He was no longer recognizable, only when I looked in his eyes I could see Fanu, the man. The suffering matured him tremendously. The diagnosis was never firmly found, but the whole thing began from a puss matter in his brain who by the end of his life spread all over his body in cancerous masses. Alin got really close to Fanu during that time. A few weeks before dying, no longer able to speak, Fanu managed to let my mother know that he knew he was dying. Grief stricken my mother kept telling him he’ll get better. Fanu insisted and by third time, Fanu asked my mother to open the door, because he wanted to go through. My mom opened his door in his room or the bathroom door.
“Not that one mom, the other one.” He would write while pointing to the ceiling.
“My boy, there’s not a door there, that’s the ceiling.”
“Sure there is, mom. There’s a long staircase with two angles waiting on each side and a closed door/gate right before it. Can you open it, so I can go?” My mother understood then. Her little boy was dying and God was waiting for him. Few days later Alin came relieving my exhausted mother for a well needed night of rest. Fanu died during that night. Upon autopsy, was discovered that Fanu had a very high number of cancerous masses throughout his body. Along his spine alone the Chief of Medical Staff who did the autopsy herself found three different types of cancer. Every organ was affected by cancer. She then asked permission for a brain mass autopsy and the results excluded mono or encephalitis (earlier perceived diagnosis) but his brain matter was full of foreign looking tumors, something she’s never seen before. Samples of cancers cell from along his spine, brain and other organs were sent to France for further study but we’ve never heard anything back. The rest of my siblings were advised to take test relating their lung health, don’t remember specifically the name of the test, just in case. The one that did came back fine.
His funeral was big.
My mom’s grief was immense and she argued with God many days after words. Fanu was a big loss for the entire family, unexpected, fast and deeply painful, however I’m glad that he’s no longer suffering and he’s at peace. To us he’ll always remain powerful for the way he faced it all. He didn’t complain and seemed to want to easy our pain any way he could.
Fanu, we miss you forever!!!!!! And can’t wait to see you, but not yet. Not yet.
P.S Few months later, Alin began having similar symptoms and the whole family was devastated. He went and had an operation in Bucuresti and removed non-cancerous tumor mass from his sphenoid canal the size of the end of a finger, formed due to stress and dust. The surgery was a success:)
Thank you God for our Fanu and the time we had with him. Thank you for allowing him to be with us even if for a small period of time. I’m truly grateful. Thank you for my family:)