Life is funny, so unpredictable. A couple of years ago my life was damn near perfect. My daughter recently graduated from HS and heading off to college. My son was enjoying the life of a 15 year old... hanging with friends and playing lacrosse. My husband was perusing a his career in the alternative energy biz with his Company, Hammersaw Solar. And I was just beginning a new job, so Ted could focus his energy on something he was so passionate about. For the past 20 years Ted worked full time as a carpenter so I could pursue a career in the arts... and for those years I had a successful run with Zaz and Moe, and still enjoy the business of making art. It was to be his turn to explore his passion. As I held down the straight job.
It was not to be so simple.
I began my new job in March 2012, managing a cheese shop for Cabot Creamery Cooperative, working for dairy farmers! I was working long days to get the store opened...it was great. Ted was doing his solar thing a big install, 10 panels, long days for him too and he was tired, and his leg painful. He was diagnosed with an IT band injury in November and PT was not helping much. By June he was experiencing stomach pains...several trips to Dr and no resolve, so he went in for a colonoscopy...his last one was 15 months prior and since he had several polops, his Dr thought maybe another look was in order. The news was not good. They found a tumor. We immediately saw a surgeon and she explained the process...bad but not awful...but wanted a CT scan just to make sure the cancer had not metastasized...but because of Teds excellent preventive care, not to worry, he should be good. Not so much. When I came home from work a few days after the scan, Ted was in the yard working. He said the results from the scan were back, and that it was everywhere. I said that's not funny and he said... I'm not joking. And just like that, life as we knew it was forever changed.
By everywhere I mean everywhere, in his leg, his lung, his pancreas, his colon, his lymph nodes. When Ted told me the news I literaly fell to my knees. I could not stand, breathing was difficult. I felt as if someone kicked me in the stomach. And Ted just stood, with tears in his eyes and repeated, its everywhere. We sobbed together...wondering what we would say to our children. Then I asked Ted if he felt that it was his time to die. He said no...I felt the same way. From that moment we decided that he was going to LIVE with cancer. And that is what we would tell our children. That daddy has cancer, but people live a long time with cancer. So that is how we began living life with cancer.
As most of you know, Teds battle against the beast ended in June of 2013, and although we were hoping for years, we were allowed only months. Exactly 11 months of life with cancer. It was an extremely difficult 11 months. I have never seen someone will himself to stay put on this planet like Ted did. The chemo beat him up. He was pretty much only comfortable laying in bed. He lost more than half of his body weight, he often referred to himself as looking like a human fetus, or a cricket... He never lost his sense of humor. He died a happy man, ready for the journey ahead. He died knowing the impact he had on his friends and family and community. A gift many never know. As Ted would say... he was a lucky man. He left here a lucky, loved man.