Sunday, April 13, 2008

Friends and Family

One of the great things about having cancer is manifest in the blog. I have not completely put my finger on it yet so I will try to here. I have had a long, fun life. The importance of having fun was clear to me from an early age. One of the things that has made my life so fun is all of the people that have been in my life; I have so many great memories of good times, adventures and parties and those memories stay there because of the people that I shared those good times with.

Since I was diagnosed people have come out of the woodwork to reach out, say a kind word, let me know they are there and thinking good thoughts or praying to their deity of choice for me. It has been wonderful. I have always been passionate about my friends. Wherever life leads me, I seem to make friends pretty easily and once you are my friend, you are my friend for life. I am passionate about the people that I spend time with because they are what makes life so great.

One of my favorite occasions is when I am able to get two groups of friends together. When I was a kid loved it when I was allowed to bring a friend on a family trip. Then I was sharing my family with my friend and we were all getting to know one another. I was bussed to school from 3rd through 8th grade so I had friends in school and then friends in my neighborhood and friends from the yacht racing. I loved it when I was able to get those groups together. As an adult I have loved the occasions where I can get my friends from work to play with my friends from home life. When I am surrounded by my friends I feel safe and warm, like nothing on earth could possibly hurt me.

I have shared so many amazing adventures with friends that I could write this blog only about all of the different fun times I have had and the friends I was with. I could write a post a day and never run out of material.

As the years pass we all get busy with our lives and go in many different directions. I am so amazed and pleased with the many different and wonderful things all of my friends have done. If you are reading this and we have spent time together, then I am talking about you. I am proud to call you a friend. Nothing makes me happier than when you are happy, when you are experiencing success, or growth or just a good stoke.

There is something that I have been trying to nail down since the work party two weeks ago. I wrote about it before, about the movie Saving Private Ryan, where the Tom Hanks character tells private Ryan to earn the life that all these men have died to save for you… I have felt like I had to earn all of the kindness and self sacrifice that has been sent my way since my diagnosis. Adam has set me straight by telling me that all of the goodness, all of the gifts that I have been given are something that I earned by being myself up until this point and I am really beginning to see that is the case.

I see now that all the years of working and playing with all these great people have been a huge deposit in the karma bank. I certainly never thought of it that way until now but I can tell you that it has been really really rewarding to have so many great friends, both old and new reach out to me lately. It makes me realize just how blessed I am.

Then there is a whole other dimension to this. As I have become more and more feeble, and my family has become more and more stressed by the challenge of cancering many of those friends have stepped up in a big way to help out. This is really more than my little family is able to do on its own. So now we have meals brought to us several times a week, we have had a work party where 50 people came and worked on our house and our yard. The whole community has helped out with watching our kids. We now have a much bigger family. When someone shows up with tonight’s dinner or when there is a gang of people working on our garden or the kids come home from a great day of skiing that the C/H and I had nothing to do with, I feel as though my family is bigger. I feel like I have gained a whole bunch of brothers and sisters. So that is one of the real gifts of cancer.


Heather Brooks Freer said...

It's been such a hidden bonus getting to spend more time with you, Spence. Love you guys,


Anonymous said...

You are a gift Spence and deserve all the love that comes your way!


Anonymous said...

So well said and the goodness coming is giving back what you always give

bikesgonewild said...'ve nicely defined a lot of good thoughts & feelings here, spence, so i'll just say something that can often be annoying but can also be the most appropriate thought in any moment...'s all good, my friend, it's all good... & sara stay strong, the two of you make us all stronger...

Judi said...

Hey Spencer, you are very lucky to have all this support. Keep fighting, keep fighting.

Marc Goddard said...

Spencer - I am sitting here in Cusco, Peru doing some business for BBX. I was out of email contact for a week and the first thing i have done is check your blog. Thus far i have not posted anything, but i need to tell you that i check your blog and progress daily - I read your entries with so much admiration and praise for you. I have learned so much from your strength and outlook on life. thanks for sharing so much with us -
Keep your spirits up and stay strong!