Wow – August was my last post. August? Seriously? Wow.
There have been a lot of reasons for my silence the past few months. The first one being (say it with me gang), work has been crazy. The craziness is finally starting to call down just a little, so I’ll be able to pay a little more attention to you, my adoring public.
The other big reason is, I’ve lost some great friends recently. With each one, I’ve felt that I needed to write one of my novella-length posts in memorial to them both for me and for their families. But with each new loss, that meant I had another novella that I needed to write. I’ve felt more guilty for not paying proper tribute to them than for leaving all of you in the lurch.
With these enormous self-imposed tributes hanging over my head, it didn’t feel right to write about the more trivial things in my life until I paid them each the proper respect. And due to the work craziness, I didn’t have the time available to sit and type away.
Finally, my wife and a bunch of Hodgers made me see the light. Last weekend, we had our big Hodgeapalooza East meetup, where a bunch of us from the Hodge Board got together to eat, drink and be more than merry. It was an awesome weekend keyed off by the fact that two of our more prominent members from Scotland were planning on making the leap over the pond for vacation (no matter what Veronica says). Sensing a once-in-a-lifetime possibility, we had a great turnout of folks with their spouses and/or parents, patients, former patients and caregivers alike.
The most amazing thing is that in this large group of people (30? 40? My math’s been bad lately), there wasn’t a single person who made you think “Oh man, I can’t wait to get aWAY from this fool!” When’s the last time you’ve had that happen in a large gathering? Of course, there’s always the possibility that I was the fool to get away from, but I’m just self-centered enough to convince myself that that is more than likely not the case. Maybe.
Meeting all of these people in person for the first time after going through so much with all of them was… some word that I don’t know. Wherever “amazing” “extraordinary” and the like are on the scale of greatness, pick your own word that’s thirty or forty levels above those. That’s what it was. Being around all of my Hodge family made me realize just how much I’ve missed having them in my life, even when they’re primarily words on a screen. I also realized that not only am I being heard when I speak, but that I’m missed when I’m silent. The realization absolutely floored me. A few people told me how important my jester-like presence was and others told my wife in secret what a difference I was making for them by just yammering away. Okay, they used nicer words, but I have to keep myself grounded, you know.
Seeing that I was making any kind of difference to people out there in the cold cruel world also finally drove home one thought I had been keeping in the back of my brain: The friends I have lost would be SO pissed off to discover that they’re part of the reason I’m no longer out here making people giggle or shake their heads in disbelief at the latest dumb thing I did. I think this is proof positive that there’s no such things as ghosts, because I’m sure they’d all be haunting me by now.
Even though these people were very important to me, I’m going to finally break the barricade by not worrying about long tributes with the perfect thing to say. Sometimes the most perfect tribute is to say that someone has touched your life and will be missed and thought of every day.
Anne-Marie, Sarah, Shannon and Doug – you four are in my heart and mind forevermore. Anne-Marie and Sarah are two of the three people who got me fired up about how folks were treating them and made me decide to make Cancer is My Bitch a Movement. I got a shaky semi-start, but that’s another project crushed by work, another promise broken. I’ll be taking up the CiMB mantle again shortly though, and it’ll be bigger and better than ever. Shannon and Doug I only knew through their spouses, who posted on our Hodge board, but they were just as much family as every other Hodger out there and just as much pain when we lost them. Though I only got to see them through Jesse and Deb’s eyes respectively, it was obvious even secondhand just how strong and loved they both were.
I miss all four of you, though I can’t imagine it’s anything near as much as the people who were actually with you in person feel.
Okay, I’m back to posting now. Now will you guys PLEASE quick making all those spooky noises in the attic?
I’m definitely going to be posting more often now (lofty goal, since my last post was about 10 months ago) and I have Big Plans for CiMB, Moondoggie and my photography, but I’ll slowly reveal those later. I doubt I’ll reach that lofty “post-a-day” goal that I usually set for myself, and I’m tired of breaking promises. So that means, you’re left with “I’ll be posting more frequently,” so suck it up, people.