Too busy to make time for this and that, have to try and sign up this new client that really needs my help, one of my rentals is almost finished and I need to show it to potential renters, need to have my car looked at, need to have my back looked at, have to establish new relationship with local bank, (blah, blah, blah)…
Let’s just forget it all and go enjoy a wet Saturday at Clemson with a beautiful date. Then make the rounds to all friends and family, go enjoy some box seats and finally sit down to watch the game. Tigers run down the hill to start the game and I jump up to enjoy some of the box amenities…
Who’s that bald kid behind me? I bet he has cancer. I will talk to him when I get back down there. Wait, I know that bald kid, that’s Chase Hamm and his mother, Melissa. ( A young man that grew up in the same town I did, went to the same high school, and is currently battling a brain tumor.) I turn around to say hello and I am greeted with a strong, yet excited handshake from Chase. We immediately recognize a bond and the struggle he is currently going through without saying a word. I couldn’t help but be reminded of 14 years back to a similar time in my life with a mother that carried the same expression on her face. A look of a mother willing to do anything to give happiness to her sick child, one of exhaustion, and one of relief that someone around her may actually be able to relate rather than look on with ignorance and/or pity.
During one point in our conversation, I realize my eyes are feeling really red and starting to fill with water. I dont have time to rush out of the room and I have not burst out crying since I watched my mother take her last breathes on her death bed. I am able to turn toward the game in time and quell the eruption coming from my stomach. I think I do so without anyone noticing but that was not the case, especially given the silence of all parties.
To hear how elated both Chase and is mother were to be able to attend the Clemson game helped me remember the simple joys in life. When life was not the luxury I enjoy today by being able to physically do as I please. Not being restricted by my "counts", ie hemoglobin, white blood cells, and platelets. It was bitter sweet how this outing back home may help them recharge for another couple weeks of battling in the trenches at St. Jude. Chase was also excited to watch his cousin play for the opposing team, Coastal Carolina.
Seeing Chase helped on several fronts:
- It was a reminder of where my life was and where it is now;
- A reminder to snap out of that typical American nature to be so caught up in everything that you don’t see anything;
- A refresher that no amount of possessions will replace love and companionship;
- That cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me because I have experienced, accomplished, and obtained more in the 14 years of extra life than most do in their lifetime; and
- Normal people are boring, crazy is cool.