Every so often, a Facebook post catches you off guard. We all love to check our feed from time to time, just to catch up on what our friends are doing. A clever status update, a rant about a political figure, or a shout of encouragement about our favorite sports team. This morning was different for me. This was the post that greeted me as I looked at my “close friends” list.
Today was a tough one – Rhonda and I went to church and – after some oxygen mishap – visited my dad to tell him that the new chemo is not working and my body cannot take anymore. We just held each other and cried – it broke my heart. It was good to have Rhonda, my big Sis, and my niece and nephew there to hold us and each other. I have started on home hospice and we will be focusing on quality of life. My dear family and friends, I hope you know that I love you all so much and I feel wrapped in the blanket of love and positive thoughts you send my way. Please continue to pray for Rhonda and our families – for God’s healing love and presence in our lives and peace as we follow the road ahead.
The post was from my good friend, Donna. Donna is a warrior. We’ve known each other for over a decade now. When I met her, she had already beaten breast cancer twice. When I visited her in Memphis in November, she was just starting a new course of chemo to battle the stomach cancer that had found its way into her body. This post brought instant tears and stopped me in my tracks. So I’m going to think about better days. And Donna, when you read this, I hope you will too.
The date was August 3, 2006. Donna and I were working in St. Louis with a client. During the meeting, the talk turned to the Cardinals and the new Busch Stadium, which was had just opened that season. We said it would be fun to go to the game and see the new ballpark. The client promptly said that there was no way we would be able to get a ticket, every game was sold out long before the season started, and we should just hit the sports bar and watch it on TV. Challenge accepted.
I remember it being hot that day. We drove downtown about an hour before game time and parked about 6 blocks from the stadium. We hadn’t walked more than a block before we found a scalper and a pair of tickets. Upper level, outfield, on the first base side. We found our seats and settled in for a great night in the heat of summer.
Cole Hamels pitched for the Phillies that night, against Jason Marquis. The Phils sent nine men to the plate in the top of the 3rd and the rout was on. By the bottom of the 5th, the Cardinal fans, mostly dressed in Pujols t-shirts and jerseys, started streaming for the exits. No sense watching a beat down in the sweltering heat. At that point, Donna and I started seat jumping. By the seventh inning, we were about eight rows behind the Phillies dugout watching the game from seats that felt more like Lazy Boys than stadium seats. It was a fantastic night. Philadephia won 8-1 and we got to see the new stadium in its first year of existence.
Those are the days I’m focused on right now. Donna, I hope you find time to close your eyes and think about warm summer nights, subway rides, and Yankee Stadium. Your friends love you. We all hope things will be better. What can be hard for us is realizing that what’s better, is not always what we hoped for.