Saturday, November 17, 2012
Joe's Last Blast was read today by good friend Jeff Rubin at Joe's Celebration of Life Ceremony at Faith United Methodist Church. Thank you, everyone, who came to remember Joe. -- Jan and family
This is not the final blast I hoped to write.
My plan was more like this: When I had been in remission for a few years, I would wrap up this writing project with some carefully crafted post about lessons learned, how going through these troubles had made me a better person, blah blah blah. It would have been witty and full of insight and written while on vacation with family in New England. Maybe it would become a book and I would go on tour.
Instead, I have to come up with something much sooner than planned, and I have to write from a very different place. I'm afraid it's going to fall short of my earlier aspirations for quality.
I am grateful for what I learned about myself and about living and about how much love and support that was in the hearts of so many who know me and my family. I do feel that the lessons would have been just as effective without this particular ending, so my gratitude is tempered.
I am happy that my writing found an audience that found it valuable. Many mentioned how much my writing about my experience with leukemia helped them or changed them, and it feels good to know I was able to do that.
Some mentioned that they didn't know I had such a great sense of humor. That hurt a little, since I always thought I was funny.
The many messages I have received all along and especially during the final phase of my illness make it clear we affect many more lives than we know. Some of it is intentional — teaching, coaching, parenting, working — but much of it is incidental, based on how we live.
I can't write a last blast without thanking the many friends, both recent and from way back, whose support has made these hard months since January 2011 much easier for me and my entire family. My family and I are so thankful.
And I am thankful to have such a supportive family, from the sibling visits (and stem cells!) to my parents practically taking up residence in Illinois as needed. And to have seen my two sons develop for an extra couple of years, and to see in both of them the ability to succeed at whatever they put their minds to.
And above all I am grateful that Jan overlooked the clumsiness of my marriage proposal, and the substitution of a treadmill for an engagement ring, and accepted me for what turned out to be 26-plus years of a rich marriage. I could not have found a better match: common interests, shared goals, different strengths, and unconditional love. She definitely got the short end of the "in sickness and in health" clause, but she has handled it beautifully.
I have noticed the coincidence between how long we've been married — 26-plus years — and the length of a marathon, an event that has percolated through our life as a couple and, in the last few years, has given Team J a lot of time working closely together, a source of joy.
26-plus... as many years as a marathon has miles, though it felt as easy as a 5K. If only we had been working on a 50-miler.
I don't know what else to say.
Enjoy the blueberries.