Friday, July 17, 2009
Celebrating and Remembering
I'm so excited to have my 100th follower today! Her name is Erin Bassett. She's got a great blog, creativitE, where she shares all sorts of cool cards & scrapbook pages she's created, along with some beautiful things using ProvoCraft's Yudu Screenprinter. Check out her silver chandelier tank top! Join me & follow Erin on Twitter!
I'm not stopping at 100! If you're looking for some creative inspiration or just enjoy JulieChats, please sign up to be a follower! And THANK YOU to all my current followers! :)
Oh, and it's Friday! And Friday's around here wouldn't be complete without a stop by Ann's blog, Ann Again and Again for her Virtual Girls' Night Out. Join me at the party & meet lot's of other cool bloggers in this great big blog hop! Fridays wouldn't be complete without it!
Now, for the remembering...today is the 6th anniversary of the death of a close friend. In 2003, at the age of 34, Dave's life long best friend, Brent, died of complications following a bone marrow transplant. (The photo is Delaney & Brent on his 34th Birthday.) We had all been so hopeful that the transplant would cure Brent's Non-Hodkins Lymphoma that his death came as a complete shock. All throughout his 3 year battle against cancer, Brent was the most positive person I had ever known. He was strong and sure that he would beat it in the end. He laughed and made us laugh while he shaved his head, receding hairline & all, hoping that maybe he'd have a full head of hair when it grew back after the chemo. He laughed more when he sent me for Taco Bell during a chemo treatment. Being a guy who didn't eat much fast food, he figured, "what could it hurt now?" He laughed that the nurses said he was the only chemo patient they had who GAINED weight!
Personally, I think that was because I made him what we called the chemo cake after his treatments, and I'm pretty sure he ate the whole thing! Makes me want to make one today, in Brent's memory. It's really called an Earthquake Cake, German Chocolate type "frosting" on the bottom of a chocolate cake filled with big chunks of cream cheesey goodness! I'll find the recipe & post it soon!
Now, looking back, I think that Brent laughed with us about his cancer because he was comfortable enough with us to laugh about it, but also because he knew that's what we needed. It had been a tough couple of years for us with many deaths in among our family and friends. Dave's dad had passed away less than a year before Brent's diagnosis. And Brent's dad passed away not too long into his treatment. We all needed to find things to laugh about or we might never stop crying. It wasn't until Brent's funeral that a friend of ours (an unmarried guy, like Brent) said in his eulogy something Brent had told him just after he was diagnosed. Brent told him that he was glad that he was the one among all our friends who had cancer. He was thankful that all these guys, who counted him among their very best friends, would not have to worry about leaving their kids without dads or their wives without husbands. Of course this made me cry more, even though I didn't think that was possible. I'm so thankful that Brent had so many wonderful friends who he could share all the complicated thoughts that someone with cancer must have during all the stages of their illness.
I cry a lot, thinking back about all of this...about how only the pictures remind Delaney of her Godfather, who passed away when she was 2 1/2...about how she learned about death at such a young age...about how Dave must miss his best friend, the best man at our wedding, Delaney's Godfather, Jake's namesake. And how Brent would have loved Jakob Brent, in all his screaming, dancing, Terry Bradshaw look-alike glory.
Brent definitely would have had a big laugh at his little guy! I know he's looking down on us smiling! And right now, he's telling me, "Hey Jules, go throw away that pile of Kleenexes & get out there and enjoy the great Oregon summer day with those beautiful kids!" ...or something like that! :)
Please check out my fundraising page on the Lukemia & Lymphoma Society webpage. The LLS was one of Brent's favorite charities. He got us involved doing the Light the Night Walk when Delaney was only 18 months old. It's a great event, everyone walking in cities all over the country with red glowing balloons. The cancer survivors carry white glowing balloons, which bob up & down among a sea of red balloons, surrounding them with all the people who love & support them. Donate to the charity on my page or sign up for the Light the Night Walk in your area & do some fundraising of your own!
I know this post has been a pretty sad one, but I hope helping someone with cancer will make you feel much better & hopeful today! You might find some of this post on my page, along with a photo of Brent. Enjoy your weekend & take a moment to think about how someone with cancer has touched your life!