One of the things cancer did was motivate Hubby and me to establish a standing Friday night date. I’ve blogged about this in the past, and how — pathetically — I’ve maintained date night alone most Fridays since Hubby died.
This week’s date seemed more important to me. Perhaps because I’ve been out of town the last couple of Fridays, and I’m headed out again on Monday for a couple weeks.
Deschutes River trail
And so I laced up my trekking shoes and headed to the Deschutes River trail. I can’t tell you how many times Hubby and I hiked along this river. Close to half a million times. Roughly. Give or take a few.
My Grandpa Mallory was one of eight children who grew up on a dairy farm in Marengo, Wisconsin. I remember my dad’s stories of sneaking away to go skinny dipping in the river as a brief escape from all the work that came with being a boy on that same farm.
The Mallory clan – my grandfather is standing back row, middle
Not too long ago, my brother sent a photo of an out-dated Mallory family reunion flyer. I recognized the name on the flyer – Lee Westlund. Westlunds were first cousins to the Mallorys. And so I did a little online sleuthing and found myself talking with my cousin. A cousin I hadn’t seen since I was in junior high. Pretty incredible thing, right there.
“I’m going to try and attend the family reunion this year,” I told him.
After Hubby was diagnosed with late stage prostate cancer, we recruited a full team to help us face down this disease. Gary was the coach; I signed on as assistant coach.
From their best-selling book on leadership, Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win, this from former Seals Jocko Willink and Leif Babin:
Leadership is the most important thing on any battlefield … there are no bad teams, only bad leaders.
Alicia Rosales, survivorship program navigator at St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute, also serves on the board of River Discovery, an Idaho non-profit that offers white water adventures for people dealing with cancer.
“Do you want to come on a 3-day camping/rafting adventure?” she asked. “As part of the volunteer staff?” Yeahhhh.
Cover girl Alicia Rosales
My young cancer-widowed friend, Sarah, let me read a couple of her poems recently. I was amazed. Beautiful stuff. She writes honestly and vulnerably as she wonders if she’ll ever find who she is again. And yet her work is hope-filled.
Jill Rosell Photography
When cancer showed up (on top of financial setbacks), I’m sorry to say I did my share of whining. For the most part it wasn’t out loud, but there was a definite lack of gratitude in my heart for much of anything.
There are some concepts, though, that we all sort of know. And one of those concepts is that whining achieves no good. At all. Eventually, gratitude became a critical member of our cancer team.
This past weekend was the annual Tour des Chutes — a multi-distance cycling event and walk/run to benefit central Oregon families dealing with cancer. Founded by cycling enthusiast and brain cancer survivor Gary Bonacker, the event has surpassed the million-dollar mark in fundraising. Which is pretty amazing for a small-town, grassroots venture.
But then, my friend, Gary, is pretty amazing. Because he’s been instrumental in this endeavor with part of the brain tumor that couldn’t be removed surgically still causing havoc all these years. If anyone knows how to do life with adversity, it would be Gary.
This from an unknown author:
Grief never ends. But it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love.
When I read the first part — about grief never ending — I thought, That’s not true. Because it feels as if my grief over losing Hubby to cancer has ended.
Photo credit: Pixabay