THEY are the Champions


I agree with everything that Rachel said yesterday in her "We are the Champions" blog, BUT...

Did you notice that that was a BIG ol' "but"?

I'm proud of Rachel...she is a "glass half empty" person, like me. Rachel tries her damnedest to fight through pratfalls and pitfalls and deal with life. When life throws Rachel a lemon, she DOES try to make something of it.

I on the other hand...


Thus began an entry that I began typing on the afternoon of June 25th...and, as you can surely tell, it wasn't going to be light and cheery.

Oh, I intended it to be uplifting. It was going to be a story of redemption...as told by a chronically depressed individual. Unfortunately, as I "digressed" in order to set the stage for my ultimate "salvation"...it got VERY dark, the story, not the light of day. I started delving into memories that even I'd forgotten...accompanied by a suitable soundtrack...

The line by Lennon was my "inspiration" when I read Rachel's blog..."Although I laugh and I act like a clown, beneath this mask I am wearing a frown."


Anyway...while I was digging deeper and deeper, and straying further and further from my original theme of redemption, I happened to glance at the clock. It was 7:45 p.m. That's the time of day that I like to visit the cemetery...and I had been out of town for eight days!

On the way back from the cemetery, I began thinking of how I was going to end this "chapter". I was trying to find a way to put a positive "spin" on my thoughts.

When I got home, I figured I ought to eat something before I got back to my typing...maybe I would become "inspired" on a full stomach. Well, as I was preparing my repast, I thought...wonder what's on TV? After some brief channel surfing and finding no reruns of Law & Order, I took a look at the pay-for-view schedule. Saw that "The Bucket List" was playing...the comedy starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman about doing all the things that you had ever wanted to do before you "kicked the bucket".

You may ask...what were you thinking? Well, when they advertised the movie, it was portrayed as basically slap-stick...the scene of them skydiving. So much for judging a book, uh, movie by its cover! That one scene was the only "funny, ha ha" scene in the movie...except maybe for folks who have never gone through the experience of losing a loved one to some dreaded disease.

Managed to down my meal to the tune of watching Jack Nicholson battle the side-effects of chemotherapy. Morbidly, I managed to watch the entire movie...shedding more than a few tears. However, my recurring thought throughout was "I don't need this sh*t!"

And, that's when I experienced a long overdue epiphany...YOU don't need this sh*t either! You got the message long ago...I miss Julie...I'll never get over the loss. So, enough already!

One thing that I have learned over the past year is to "never say never". So, I will NOT promise that I won't write another chapter expressing my inconsolable grief...but I'm going to try.

When I scheduled my trip to Washington, DC (by train to get Rachel's car and drive it to Cairo for safekeeping while she is in Africa for a year) I honestly did not pay attention to the dates. My Cairo departure date of June 19th was selected because I'm still assisting in contract negotiations. We have been negotiating on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. I selected a Wednesday departure so that I could make the Monday and Tuesday negotiations...Thursday was canceled due to the regular meeting of the Cairo Board of Education. My DC departure date was dictated by the fact that Rachel's plane to Nairobi, Kenya, was June 24th. Also, by leaving then, I would arrive back in Cairo on Wednesday and be able to get a day's rest before negotiating on Thursday. Ahhhh, dedication!

Rachel followed up her "We are the Champions" blog entry with "A Perfect Ten", in which she charted some numerology. (Wonder if Rachel has noticed yet that her entry posted at "11:10"?)

Maybe that's why I started thinking numbers and noticed those related above for my DC arrival and departure...June 19th and June 24th. Julie passed away on the 19th and was laid to rest on the 24th...eight loooooong months ago.

As Rachel took heart that she was ready to "move on" to the next step in her life, it's time that I make a similar effort...to at least cease the public wailing.

So...dear, reader, I am going to strive valiantly to bring some pleasant memories to the surface. After all, this Web site is supposed to be a tribute to the memory of my remarkable wife. It does her memory a disservice to dwell on the "woulda, coulda, shoulda"...because as I related in my "Odd Thomas" chapter, "...to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life."

Julie loved LIFE and always looked to the future...to the next "dance".


Footnote on "The Bucket List":

As Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson gazed out at the pyramids, Freeman's character turns to Nicholson's character and tells him that the Egyptians had a theory that when you got to the Pearly Gates you were asked two questions. Your response to them decided whether you got in or not. The two questions were:

  1. Have you experienced joy in your life?
  2. Have others experienced joy from having you in their lives?

Disclaimer: No "signs" here, but a coincidence and a comment...

There was only one item on Julie's "Bucket List". We joked about it often. When Julie faced yet another flare or surgery and we sat quietly, silently worrying, Julie would say "Hey, I'm going to be okay...I still haven't seen the pyramids!"

In reviewing the two questions above, Julie may not have seen the pyramids, but I bet St. Peter rolled out the red carpet when he saw who was approaching.