Below post was originally penned for the Finding Inner Strength Together (FIST); the Husband’s Cancer Support Group:
Out in the street yesterday, taking in the idyllic weather of this extremely peaceful northern California town, I met up with a neighbor of mine who I had not seen in many, many weeks perhaps months. He, a former member of the Major League Baseball system having played with the San Diego Padres for brief periods as well as playing in Japan and in the minors for a dozen or so years, I heard his stories about former teammates, managers and even the opposition as though I was standing at the very ballpark in which he was discussing. His passion for the game is as genuine today as in his playing days and that in itself is pretty darn refreshing, to me anyways. Changing directions in the conversation I told him about our past sixteen or so months with breast cancer and of course we were instantly connected with this disease as he too lost his dad to cancer. Before death, his dad was a retired Los Angeles cop, walking a beat in downtown Watts where death in those days was an everyday possibility and fortunately his father was able to escape the white & black transgressions of his then current workplace, only to lose his life to the subject on which the majority of these posts have focused on.
During a day where twenty-five thousand folks ascended on this quiet little city for the annual Butter & Eggs Day parade, I thought of my neighbor several times and when my mind wandered back to our conversation, I remembered specifically on how the subject of breast cancer was introduced. I felt pride in the fact the word “we” is always used, even in these posts, and in my regular day to day conversations with colleagues, clients, etc. When a client enters my office they see a number of breast cancer related books on the shelf and when the question is asked I always let them know that although my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, it is WE who were (should probably be “are”) in the throes of breast cancer treatment.
Several times yesterday, while the blue skies followed us from a friend’s home where a pre-parade-party of bloody mary’s and laughter, to the parade route, and finally to our favorite little wine bar. It was here where we sat together, continuing to imbibe, while playing a best-of-seven series of gin where my wife looked me in the eye and thanked me. She had no idea she was thanking me, and while her sunglasses covered her naked eyes, it was plainly obvious to me how grateful she is for having a shoulder to lean on, a confidant, and a husband who continues to walk side by side, and hand in hand while we walk the path of a cancer survivor.
Remember, this blog was started as a therapeutic tool for me. With any luck I can help you by sharing these thoughts as the road continues. As I learned early yesterday morning, sadly there are a great number of us on this road, and sharing with each other, for me, is prideful and helpful.