*** This was a letter written a week ago***
Two men have paved a path in my life. Sonny Ricks and Rich Thompson, born on the same day, in the same year, took care of a very younger me. They each have watched me stumble through awkward youth and each eased my mind with their wit and humor along the way. When I think of my past and the men that have graced (or cursed) my life, both of you are my favorite men. Each of you knew how to take life with humor, no matter the circumstance. To this day humor has been my medicine for all that ails me. I really can’t thank either of you enough for the impact you’ve had on the human being I’ve become.
How do you quantify and encapsulate these memories? How can a simple letter convey the lasting hold, like deep seated roots, in your memories and essence of who you have become? This is my feeble attempt at letting you know how much you run through the corridors of my mind.
Perhaps I’ll start with, fuck you cancer.
You see, when I was a young girl I dealt with fear with irrational behavior. You knew me well then. You knew me to be an outspoken-vulgar-rebel. Though these qualities haven’t changed much, I have learned to deal with fear by running away, to deny the fear even exists. Knowing that you battle a fight each day scares the fuck out of me. It cripples me. It leaves me silent.
What a horrible friend I’ve been, hiding in my own fears while you face them. And though my burdens are not yours to bear, I wanted to tell you that I’m sorry. I’m sorry I haven’t been a vocal cheerleader in your fight.
I’ve stared down the barrel of cancer before … being a spectator has been more difficult. More trying. Perhaps you won’t understand what I mean but doing the fighting has always been easier than having ring side seats. The anxiety of watching overwhelms me. Of course I silently close my eyes and wish for the best outcome (which is usually what happens right!?). I just can’t seem to open my eyes to the reality of the situation … with open eyes I have to examine my own fears and your battle becomes mine and cancer scares me all over again. I’ve ran from that bitch far too long, but I’m not ready to face her quite yet. She lurks in my daily activities, she hides behind my children and she plagues my dreams with thoughts of death. And that one little word will always cause panic for me.
But then there is you … a fighter, confronter and optimistic you! You really are one of the lights of the universe. Even in pain, anguish and sickness you take time to comfort others. Who are you?! 🙂 Sincerely, you are one of the craziest, funniest, most sincere persons I’ve had the pleasure to know.
Perhaps you are the very definition of hope. You are what give people the nerve to try. You are what people look to for inspiration. You are a symbol of resilience. And let’s be honest, this goes far beyond cancer. Every time you’ve been knocked on your ass you pick yourself up and keep pushing back! Giving up has never been an option for you. Rich gets what Rich wants … silently telling a story to all those around him that hope is the ingredient to get shit done.
Hope is you Rich.
I love you! I love who you are, who you were and who you will be.
And of course, this letter would never be complete without talking about Christel. What a damn saint! She is THE best human being out there! If you are hope, she is patience and love. Her love for you is unmatched by any other. I can only imagine that Christel alone is worth every treatment, every poison you must ingest. Her infectious optimism is a medicine you are lucky to be surrounded by. How she maintains, manages and cares for all of you is a mystery, as I know many people who would buckle under the pressure. This isn’t to say that she doesn’t have days of being overwhelmed or that she doesn’t allow the feelings to penetrate her heart, but speaks of her resolve and strength. Friend, your beautiful wife is stronger than you or I can ever be.
I know we are never supposed to talk about “if …” But if something happens to you Rich, I’ll be a better friend to Christel than I have been with you. Though I know she is surrounded by so many that love her, I just wanted to let you know that I won’t fuck this one up. Both of you are a large part of who I was … and who I became.
Hang in there friend! Fighting can be wearisome work, but the prize at the end of the fight has you forgetting the pain of the past. That clean bill of health is only a few more blows away and I promise I’ll open up my eyes to watch the glorious win!
Warm Regards and lots of love,