I first heard about Derek when the CBC played an interview with him about his cancer diagnosis. At the time of his diagnosis with stage 4 colorectal cancer, he was being interview by Priya Ramu about blogging his cancer experience. For Derek, not blogging about his cancer would have been a challenge. Derek had been blogging long before everyone (like me) could go to WordPress or Blogger and set one up,

I was immediately drawn to Derek. I identified with him a bit due to my own colon issues. However what he was facing was much more dire and would require much more intestinal fortitude than my disease. He was also a computer geek. Being a computer geek myself, I enjoyed asking him questions and getting answers. I remember asking him why my Windows machines always slowed down no matter how much RAM I put into them. And, in typical Derek fashion, he did the research for me and directed me to an article that said it just happens with Windows. It was Derek, in fact, who helped convince me to switch back to Macs. He helped me through those first few months where I could find nothing. I remember Facebooking with him[1] about how to set up my first Mac network. Always he was patient and helpful.

I remember meeting him and his wife Airdrie when I bought Derek’s used camera for Deb. They came to my office and we met for the first time. We then decided they should come for dinner. There were more visits after they got a lovely dog named Lucy.

Derek was always happy to give his expertise, regardless of the subject. As part of his cancer treatment he had most of his colon removed and had lived with an ileostomy for several months. When I was faced with making the decision about carrying on with my ulcerative colitis or having a colectomy, naturally, I turned to Derek. He wrote an amazing response to my questions about how it all worked. He went into great detail and he clearly put a great deal of thought into what he wrote to me. After reading his response, I knew that I could do it if I had to have a colectomy.

Many people knew Derek from blogging, computers or the music scene. His living wake, held in March of 2011, completely took over the Waldorf in Vancouver. Everyone had Derek stories to tell. Unfortunately, he had lost his voice and it never really came back. It was a complication of his cancer. I remember him writing that his inability to speak made him feel like a ghost at his own wake. His writing was always eloquent and thoughtful and his last post (this is a link goes to a mirror site, I will update with the link once the traffic has slowed down) was no exception. However, try not to inundate the server. Apparently, it has been down most of the day due to the high traffic. As someone aptly pointed out on Twitter: Derek would have laughed.

[1] I believe he was late to Facebook and it took a Facebook group to finally get him to embrace it.


One thought on “Derek K. Miller June 30, 1969 – May 3, 2011

  1. i’ve read your comments on air’s blog before (and own my own little shih poo) so checked out your tweet re: this post. thanks. i’m so glad you got to meet and spend time with them both in person! and you are so right about derek and his thoughtful answers…

    and then i did remember joing the “get derek k. miller to join facebook” group! good times!

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