The news of Danny Federici’s passing has me contemplating a number of emotions. It seems that with every passing week, there is news of cancer claiming yet another beautiful spirit and you can’t help but wonder if such a thing is really necessary, or fair, for that matter.

While I readily admit to being a recent convert to the magic and splendor that is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, the reason Danny’s death hits me especially hard is because I too suffer from cancer. I’ve been through chemotherapy a number of times and am scheduled for surgery in mid-May to remove some tissue my doctors describe only as “suspicious.”

Even before I was diagnosed, I was well aware that cancer was the kind of disease that toys with its victims like a cat pawing at a wounded mouse. Sometimes, it takes you swiftly and other times, it lets you alive in such unbearable pain that you wish for death as a release from the prison that life has become.

What was even more disheartening were the countless stories of those who’d supposedly beaten the disease – gone into remission – only to have the cancer return stronger than ever, stealing them suddenly.

Springsteen and his band are gods. There’s really no other way to put it. I can only imagine what it must be like to have lived in New Jersey during the band’s rise from obscurity to super-stardom. Unlike most bands, Bruce and the E Street Band were a gang of brothers, bound by blood and an unwavering devotion to the cause that was rock & roll.

Being a musician myself, I can tell you Bruce is extremely fortunate to have found such willing accomplices in the E Street Band. They are well-paid, no doubt, but it was that initial belief, that leap of faith, that speaks volumes about the character of every single one of those guys.

Danny, as part of this gang, this legendary band of brothers, has enjoyed the kind of life most of us can only dream about. To many, he has long been regarded as a god among men and any number of aspiring musicians would have given anything to be him for just one day.

This week, however, I can’t help think that, despite his many accomplishments and one-of-a-kind experiences, Danny would have given anything to be one of them for just one day. Instead, we have all been given a day that Danny didn’t get. Our ability to embrace our loved ones, to smell the flowers, to say “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you” and put petty differences aside is a gift that we can either take full advantage of or allow to fall by the wayside, unused.

In homage to Danny, may we all spend this and every day the way he would if he could.