When Tyler Henderson was diagnosed with brain cancer, Marni brought their two sons home for online schooling so they could spend as much time together as a family while they still had the hours, the weeks, the months.
Turns out, they only had fifteen more months together. Which wasn’t nearly enough time.
Tyler and Marni
Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player ever to fly the planet, had this to say about success:
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again. That is why I succeed.
When Katie Strumpf was diagnosed with leukemia, there were no online resources or publications to offer guidance to a 10-year-old kid dealing with cancer. She endured chemo, spinal taps, and bone marrow aspirations.
While still going through treatment, Katie told her mom that someday she would write a book for children with cancer, offering encouragement and practical advice from someone who’s put up with doctors and medications and hair loss.
We were at my husband’s final oncology consultation—the one where he said, No more chemo—at which point the oncologist said he’d like to make a referral to hospice. I was incredulous. Seriously? Does Gary look like he’s on his last legs?!
“Up until this point,” the oncologist said to my husband, “all the care has been focused on you.” He pointed at me: “But who’s taking care of her?” My eyes welled up. I’d never considered that thought.
You’ll find me with my knitting posse most Monday evenings at Barnes & Noble. Back when my husband, Gary, was fighting cancer, they were part of my cancer caregiver support network. And now in widowhood, they’ve got my back.
My fellow knitters didn’t sign up for either of these extra assignments. But by virtue of showing up every Monday and bringing their exquisite, fuzzy projects and sharing their stories and asking about my week, they’re a significant addition to my support system.
When my husband, Gary, was diagnosed with cancer, we asked the professionals about diet and exercise. One doctor said, “That’s like closing the barn door after the horse has gotten out.” Well, thank you. That was helpful.
On our own initiative, we increased our fruit and veggie intake, eliminated unhealthful fats and sugars, and ate more whole grains and legumes. And then Gary died. And I quit cooking for myself.
Four years ago, as my husband’s cancer was ramping up, our friend Kattaryna texted from Alaska: “Trying to figure out how to bring some Alaska to you and hubby. Any requests?”
Gary asked for Baked Alaska, and I requested a live baby moose. We’re both easy to please.
Photo: Marlys Johnson
Apparently something got lost in the translation. Because we found this colorful, hand-crafted, moose-shaped garden ornament planted in a rather large and beautiful fall bouquet on our front porch. (Which, if you can’t have a live moose, is the next best thing.)
My friends, Mac and Allison, invited me to join them this weekend for a game in Autzen Stadium in Eugene, OR. They have a grandson who plays football for the University of Oregon Ducks.
A tight end. Six feet, 5 inches tall. Two-hundred thirty pounds. A little, scrawny guy.
My friends’ grandson, Cameron McCormick (Photo SportsPress)
I was looking through some photos of my recent, more-fun-than-ought-to-be-allowed road trip, and came across this pic of my big brother and me standing at an observation deck above Snowbird in a gorgeous land called Utah.
Hanging out with big brother above Snowbird