Sunday, February 13, 2011

Blissful Blessings

They say hindsight is 20/20.  We went through the last year with the subtle pieces to the puzzle, but nothing that smacked us in the face with what this was.  There were dots that appeared but not enough that we could connect  them and know what we were dealing with.

When we went to the Outer Banks in the summer, Rick was body surfing and was thrown by a wave down on his shoulder.  It took a really long time to heal; he thought it was odd.

In September, we were at Karen’s and Paul’s house.  We often watched football with their family; the kids  played and we’d eat our Sunday meal together.  It was a weekly ritual.  During one of these times, Karen was challenging the kids to arm wrestling matches.  Rick began to wrestle his nephew, Bobby who was around 18 at the time.  While they were straining and groaning something popped in Rick’s bicep and hurt.  Bobby won the match which was unheard of; Rick was really injured.

At work, Rick noticed that he couldn’t lift heavy furniture the way he used to.  He was putting up a mattress on the second level of the racks in the warehouse and wrenched his back.

I remember that Rick’s hands had begun to shake quite a bit.  They always shook a little but in the last few months before Christmas, it had gotten much worse.

In hindsight, many people thought it would have been better to have known sooner about Rick’s cancer, not me!  We had a whole year of not knowing he was sick.  We had his birthday and didn’t know it would be his last.  We went to the beach with Karen and Paul and brought back great memories of time spent together.

We went to the Lake in spring and saw the house that my parents built and then went again at the end of summer to stay with them.  It was so awesome.

We would have been robbed of the memories of sleeping as a little family in the upstairs room with no air conditioning, the two boys on futons on the floor and Rick and me in the double bed.  In the middle of night the bed suddenly collapsed on the floor.  We didn’t know what hit us but we were hysterical as we had heard tell-tale stories of the bed before.

We would have missed the storm that later hit the lake; it felt like we were in Kansas with winds whirling and roaring through the trees around the house.  We would not have noticed the green, yellow, blackish sky as we left at 5 a.m. headed for Virginia.

Our opportunity to see Jack play his last season of fall baseball, without the worry of whether it would be Rick’s last season to watch him play, would have been lost.

We celebrated my fortieth birthday, surprise party, ugh and didn't know it would be the last that Rick would be with us.

Our last anniversary was November 24, 1998.  Karen watched the boys for us and we went to Old Town  Alexandria for the weekend and celebrated without knowing any of it.

We had a very special Christmas at our home.  Michael Sean was 3 and so much fun.  He was just at the point of being able to talk nonstop which made it all the more special.  Steve invited us out for the Children’s mass on Christmas Eve: Michael was dressed like a shepherd with a brown towel wrapped around his head and a bathrobe on.  Rick, Jack and I sat with Paul’s family and enjoyed every minute of watching him up there.  These were precious times that no one could take from us.

New Year’s Eve was spent at home with the boys and our nephew, Matt came over to hang with us.  We all wore party hats, used noise makers, ate special snacks and drank sparkling cider from fancy stemware.  I was very happy that none of this was taken from us.

Once Rick was diagnosed and our world was turned upside down, it was hard to be anything but serious.  In the tense times, it was Jack's and Michael's sweetness through it all that helped us go on.  We needed them there to put a smile on our faces and know we were blessed to have them, despite anything else.

IGNORANCE WAS BLISS!  We got to have Rick for a whole year without knowing a darn thing was wrong with our life.  WE WERE BLESSED!


  1. I totally agree! Not knowing was a blessing! Once the word "cancer" is spoken, everything changes. It's difficult to enjoy a normal life. You keep thinking is this the last time we'll do this together. It takes away all the joy and memories that will sustain you when your loved one is gone. I am glad for your blissful blessing!

  2. Jane, your writing is amazing! I am holding back tears as I read your blog; you have such a witty and captivating way of telling your story. Thanks for sharing it! I can't wait to read more!

  3. Nicole,
    Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you finally got to read it. Now you can understand that strange look I gave you when you told me about reading my blog. I hope you'll be back.

  4. I found you through a blog hop, you actually followed me but I couldn't find your link with your google button. I'm glad I found you. Thanks for the follow and I look forward to reading your blog.