July 21st 2007
Three years ago today, Todd and I were lying on a hospital room bed together quietly trying to process the prognosis we received from the doctors. As many of you know, they told us that he had about 6 months to 2 years to live. What some of you might not know is that the very next day as we were sharing our thoughts on that hospital bed, Todd asked me, “So, what’s the positive that will come out of this?” At the time, I simply couldn’t answer him nor was I able to appreciate the power of that question and the way in which it would shape the next three years of my life. I was able, however, to recognize the amazing amount of strength that lay within Todd when he phrased this question.
I began to learn from Todd that in every situation no matter how terrible it might seem, there is always something positive to be found. More than finding the positives and simply being optimistic (which really isn’t so simple after all), Todd taught me how to think differently – quite possibly the best gift a person could give someone.
In 2004, and again in 2006, the doctors told us that Todd’s cancer has metastasized to other organs. By definition “to metastasize” means to spread. Whenever I heard that word, I thought of it as a nasty word, the M word, a word that had nothing but negative connotations.
Now, tonight having you all here with us to celebrate life, I feel even more strongly that if one can just shift their thinking just a little bit, difficult situations, trying experiences, and even negative words can take on whatever meaning one chooses to gives them.
For three years, our family and friends have stood by us and supported us during a difficult time. On numerous occasions, Todd and I have been overwhelmed by the kindness from family, friends, and strangers. And, tonight, I can see first hand that the love, the friendship, the support, the encouragement, and the kindness that Todd and I have felt each and every day have metastasized in a tremendous manner.
Twice in one day, I had the rare opportunity to follow Todd, as he was ambulanced to two different emergency rooms in two different hospitals in two different states. Without hesitation, my brother Eric and my Aunt Laurie were there with me on those rides. And suddenly, following my husband in an ambulance wasn’t as scary as it could have been because I had Eric and Laurie with me. Their words of comfort and their calmness distracted me from the sirens and lights on which my eyes were focused.
Our families have been tremendously supportive and that support has spread from family to friend. Todd has had many hospital stays and we have learned to set up shop so to speak and make ourselves right at home. It’s only a matter of days before we watch the hospital room transform into something that looks more like a Colby or Taft hockey locker room than a hospital room as Todd’s bed quickly becomes surrounded by our friends. And, when Todd and I were at one of our lowest points out in Pittsburgh this past February, my Mom, Ricky, and our friend, John, visited us and brought with them support and kindness and, above all laughter, that got us through some really dark times.
In addition to being there during the difficult times, you all have shared with us some of our best and happiest moments. My parents took us on a wonderful trip to Puerto Rico so that we could celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary – one that we weren’t sure we’d get to see. And, when Todd and I found out that his cancer was in remission, we had the fortunate timing of being at Glenn and Melissa Forger’s wedding surrounded by our friends who celebrated this amazing news with us. And, I am sure many of you remember the 1st and 2nd Team Gov Invitationals – two days that will always remind me of the dedication of our friends and families and their encouragement of Seas It.
And then, of course, we have tonight. I wanted to throw a party to honor Todd and celebrate all that he has overcome but I also wanted to throw a party to thank you all and let you know how infinitely grateful we are for you. Additionally, I wanted to be able to raise some money for Seas It by raffling off some wonderful items generously donated and enthusiastically sought after by friends of Seas It. Hopefully, some of these items will tickle your fancy and you will buy lots of tickets and win something. We’ll be drawing the raffle tickets and announcing the winners shortly after dessert is served.
I hope that you enjoy the night and that you know how truly fortunate we are to have you in our lives. I also hope you enjoy this little video I have been working on. Hopefully, it’s going to remain a work in progress but for now it’s titled “In Just Three Years.”
Lastly, to you Todd…as I quoted on the invitation to this lovely little party, “I would sail across the ocean just to hold onto your hand.” I love you.