January 26, 2013…
January 26 has always been a weird day.
Turned out to be diffuse large cell lymphoma. I spent the next six months enduring chemotherapy, weird pain, weakness and hair loss. And weekly doctor visits. It looked for a while that I wasn’t gonna be around to write this blog nonsense.
But, here I am . I’ve been more than fortunate.
People sometimes gasp when I recount certain chapters in my life. My leg disability at age 12, loss of my daughter, and being a cancer survivor. While I’ve had my moments, it’s nothing compared to Brigid’s brother and his battle against lymphoma. Or CoolChange (c)(c) watching over his beloved wife, now in hospice. They need all your good thoughts, and prayers, if that’s what you do.
And if you donate blood, please continue to do so. Or start. And mark that organ donor spot on your driver’s license. It’s the least we can do.
Sad PS – Rick (CoolChange) announced in his blog today that his beloved wife passed @ 5:55 yesterday.
One of the most prolific and innovative inventors in history, JOHN MOSES BROWNING was born on this date in 1855.
The next time you rack your semiautomatic pistol, remember the slide mechanism was invented by Mr. Browning. Otherwise, we’d be stuck with Georg Luger’s toggle top! Seen many of those designs, lately?
Every time I first touch off my one remaining prized 1911, I try to intone, “God Bless John Moses Browning!”
For a succinct biography of the man, please go to 1911.org
I recently had a conversation with a friend which sparked a bittersweet memory.
One of the things many of us miss as adults is the wonder, the surprise, the simple serendipity of joy. In childhood we experience it often, probably because most things and experiences are new to us, and we’ve yet to become jaded.
One of my favorite memories of my daughter Molly was when I gave her a gift. She was turning twelve, and I knew just as the Sun rose in the morning that soon she would be developing into a teenager, full of doubt and promise. One who no longer trusted her parents to be all-knowing and truthful. Because, of course, we weren’t and could never be.
But here we were, proud father giving his daughter a present. She opened it, her eyes widened, and there was that sudden exhalation of breath. Excitement, happiness, joy. Innocence and appreciation in one second, one breath. Followed by the big hug.
I don’t even remember what I had given her. But what she gave me was so much more. An everlasting memory of a happy young woman, unspoiled by the adolescent hormones of parental treachery. Not yet jump-started into that distrust generated simply by being parents and adults.
Zen masters tell us to be in the now. Live life as if each moment was your last. This is what Molly showed me that day.
I’ve had many difficult times of year. The holidays and my birthday comprise one such time. Not because of those specific events, but rather because of who’s not there.
But, I’ve already received my present this year. As I get every year – when I remember it.
Live in the now, with joy, and never be disappointed.
Thank you, Molly.
I’ve known Judy since 2003. We met through EHarmony. We dated for a couple years, then split, then got back together for another couple years. We’ve evolved into good friends.
Judy and I have some similar history in that we both lost someone special in our lives way too soon. I think it’s one of the things that binds us. But our friendship is not just about the sad. We both have sick and twisted senses-of-humor and are prone to the sarcastic. And we like guns. And tequila (not at the same time!)
Back in 2009, after we had broken up the second time, I was hospitalized and asked her to pick up my mail for me at my home. This is a 17 mile trip one-way, and I expected her to stop by once or twice a week to collect it.
Not only did she collect it daily, but she then came to the hospital to see me. Every day. She was there when my oncologist told me I had lymphoma. And was there much of the time when I was doing outpatient chemo.
When I told her I quite probably was going to lose my home, she offered me a place to stay. Open-ended. This is who she is.
Today is her Birthday. If I told you her age or posted her photo she would most certainly shoot me with the Nighthawk she carries!
Happy Birthday, Judy! And thanks!
would have been is my daughter’s 29th birthday.
I remember two previous ones, in particular.
The night before the day she was born, it was laundry night, and I went to the local laundromat to do the task.
This was 1983, and we didn’t have cell phones.
I arrived back home and my wife gleefully announced, “My water broke!”
I stayed calm and handled everything appropriately I went a little crazy, probably acting a like Rob Petrie in the Dick Van Dyke Show.
But, we made it to the hospital, all was okay, and at 0730 the next morning our daughter was born.
Fast-forward 12 years later, and my daughter wanted a party with her girlfriends, and with our friends.
So we had a quick get-together at my house (my wife and I had separated, but she was present) with a few adult friends (better gifts, don’t ya know!) then they left and I was herding a bunch of eleven and twelve-year-old girls who were eating snacks, drinking soda and giggling. LOTS of giggling.
After the impromptu fashion show and make-up show, I was banished to the Elba of my room while the girls watched Jurassic Park, The Bruce Lee Story, and The Mask. (my daughter was nothing if not eclectic in her cinema choices!)
Then, it was bedtime (you’ll notice I didn’t say sleeptime) and there was more giggling. Eventually all went to sleep, I think.
In the morning, I made real pancakes with real maple syrup and bacon. And the parents eventually collected the giggling brood.
The next month we were T-boned and Molly was lost. Molly was just 12.
Every birthday, every holiday, every new year is bittersweet.
At least we had her for twelve years.
Happy Birthday, Molly!