As I wrote in my last post, life sometimes has a way of altering our plans. And what are plans? A plan is a set of goals and objectives we would like to complete but sometimes we have to deviate from those plans because of factors that are unforeseen or beyond our control. My plans to keep moving has required me to deviate and cut back on activities in order to help my wife and son-in-law care for our daughter who is battling adult t-cell lymphoma.
Tomorrow, May 16, will be six weeks since she was given the terrible news that the chemotherapy treatments she had been receiving were not working and there was no other treatment option available to her. Since that time she has been home and our family has done our best to keep her comfortable. Her positive attitude and courage has been an inspiration to family and friends.
She finds blessings in simple everyday things that we take for granted. For example, on days when she has energy, she wants to go outside and to feel the sun on her face. Warm water streaming down her back as she takes a shower she describes as heavenly. The taste of a hamburger, which she had not eaten for many years because of being a vegetarian, is wonderful when pureed. Getting comfortable in her bed has a new meaning for her. Last week Melissa and Ryan celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary and she was so excited that she was here to celebrate with Ryan. Marilyn bought sparkling white grape juice for us to toast their anniversary. Melissa said it made the celebration that much more special. These are simple everyday things most of us take for granted but she feels blessed just to be experiencing them.
Recently, her vision has become blurred and she couldn’t see clearly across a room. Today a staff member from her eye doctor came by the house to check her eyes. She had a lens that enabled Melissa to see clearly in the room and even out her window at trees near the mountainside. They were taken to the office and returned within an hour! You talk about happy. Melissa declared it was a miracle from God and she proclaimed “Hallelujah”. Melissa celebrates small miracles and praises God for them. Lesson learned: we should all be doing the same!
Living in Asheville and being near such a wide variety of outdoor activities, Melissa and her husband, Ryan, love the outdoors. From hiking on trails near the Blue Ridge Parkway and in Pisgah National Forest, to tubing down the French Broad River, to enjoying the surroundings at the Biltmore Estate, to bicycling with friends. They love living in such a diverse and dynamic community.
On Father’s Day in 2016 Melissa and I rode a loop around Brevard, NC. It was a beautiful sunny day with mild temperatures. We rode 18 miles past farms and woodlands and had a great day. It was a day I will never forget and it is heartbreaking that we will not bicycle together ever again.
I said that she is thankful for small blessings that we often take for granted. The blessing of being able to ride along side her that Father’s Day was special to me and I didn’t take it for granted. She will always be my riding partner no matter where I ride because she will always be in my heart.