Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Final Frontier...

“I thought up an ending for my book. ‘And he lives happily ever after, till the end of his days.'”
– Bilbo

No matter how far we go, how far we run, pedal, push, pull or coast, it's still a long road...

And that is exactly the point. Having a long road. Hopefully it's a road of choices and riches. A road of decisions, joys, emotions and any of the fruits of life we desire.

It doesn't always work that way, of course. There are always bumps along the way.

As survivors, we know all too well. We have our markers in the sand more than others, it would seem.
Whether it's a periodic appointment with a specialist or a date with a scan, we are constantly reminded of the bumps we had to overcome. Forever chasing time.

And yet there is a feeling of loneliness in the journey. I've never been quite sure why.

I think a lot of it has to do with the singularity of the diseases we have had to face. Sure, there are millions of cancer patients but you never really experience the millions, just your "self" in the whole process.

Everything is done to you, specifically. They don't crop dust one thousand cancer patients at a time. They pierce your arm, cut your gut, or radiate your brain not the person who stands on the side of you.

Funny thing, though...most of us aren't in this alone though we feel the pang of inner loneliness.

We have had a support group right along. A cast of many who have stood by praying, swearing, crying and laughing. For that, we should reach deep into ourselves and be thankful no matter what our disease has labelled us.

I've been blogging for 6 years now. In the 6 years of writing my thoughts, fears, strengths, joys and sadness, I have been remiss in not thanking those I love around me for everything from a funny line to a punch in the arm.

To my mom and dad. Not many realize that my mom had cancer as well. Our joke between us is that we are both 'stoic' patients. Sure Ma :).  Dad has had to watch his wife and son both go through the process. Here's a glass of red wine to both of you. I love you very much.

To my brothers Gino and Mark.

I've learned from Gino that you can make your own miracles every day just through hard work and determination - spitting into the eye of what everyone tells you is impossible. Here's to your homemade vino. Love you, G.

Mark and I share our writing passions and I've always learned to laugh from Mark. He is 14 years younger than I am and was, in many ways, my first child. Life is what you see around you and you better take a good long look at the beauty right at your daily reach. Live long and prosper. Love ya, Mark.

To all of my buds at the survivor group. We all started with that awkward silence and staring. That is until we all realized we were all of the same oddity. From Fred who originally ran the group to Stephanie who continues to carry the torch today. Here's to Ali, Jerone, Kim, Adam, Mike, Xenia, Nicole, Luis, and all of the others. Love you guys from head to toe. Hollywood may not have picked us for their superhero movies but you are all super stars with me.

Then there are all of my writing peeps. All of those who see my spiritual true self. Dark, brooding, sometimes violent, but hopeful in the end.

To JD, always the sensible one.Thank you to you, your husband and your family for inviting me into your household and for always supporting my wacky writing ideas. Hugs...

To Heather and Christine who always make me laugh at myself and feel like an actual author in the same breath. Two friends right off the written page. Heather who is RISD all the way and Chris who helped me cut the yellow ribbon that started us on our artistic journey. Let's always talk till we don't remember our names in our old age.

And to all of the other artists I've come to know. Some are inspirational beyond words...I pray that I can repay you with my artistry some day.

My final chapter is dedicated to my final hero - my wife Pam.

Many don't know that Pam had her battle with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. She has never preferred the spotlight. She's never needed or wanted the attention.

Pam, you stood tall and graceful even at 5'0". Through chemo and radiation. Through treatments and hair loss. You stood there, took it, and gave it back. You once told me that you can't leave this world, you had a child to raise (Matteo was app. 3 at the time). And you held your promise.

I've long admired you for the person you are and I have never said it. Not enough anyway.

I love you for however long forever is. You are my hero.

To all those who supported, followed, cheered and cried during this blog - I thank you.

Belay your fears, Universe. No matter the ending of the night, there is always a new dawn.

I am still here....