The message I want to send with my story is to not take the love you share with someone for granted.
I acknowledge that this message may sound like a cliche, a cliche being an idea, expression or action that has been overused to the point of it becoming boring and unoriginal. But to that notion I say if I have heard this message many times before, then it must speak some Truth, and with that said how can the Truth ever be boring or unoriginal? And so with my message and acknowledgement in mind, I want to share with all of you a specific event that occurred the day when my bride, Tracy, shared her diagnosis with me.
We were sitting at the restaurant Pappadeaux, like we had many times before, when the gravity of what my wife was going through hit me. I have been affected by many things in my life, but only one other time have I felt the way that I felt on the day that Cancer entered the scene.
It was the fall of 1999, and I can remember the exact moment when I became aware of my depression. The recognition started from the top of my head and made its way to the tip of my toes. I recall, sitting in my black Nissan Sentra that had a manual transmission, smoking a cigarette at the intersection of Mulberry and 281, waiting to turn left, when I looked out my left window and noticed dry brown grass blowing to the left because of the wind, when the feeling started. For days, no matter what I did, I could not shake the feeling. As I worked through my depression, I found the source to be trauma perpetrated upon me in my youth. Unfortunately, before I could heal, my wife at the time took my children to NYC and abandoned me. When I became better, I vowed to never treat someone the way I was treated in my time of need.
During my reflection for this writing, I came across this image created by a professor from the University of Northern Iowa named F Echeverria that spoke to me.
“The seed in the ground that rots first, but becomes a beautiful, fruit giving tree at the end”.
The seed that rotted in 1999 is exactly what needed to be so that I could be what Tracy required 23 years later. In numerology, 23 signifies new beginnings, revolution, and transformation.
Sitting at Pappadeaux was a new beginning and the second most consequential day in my life. I knew it was a big deal because my senses were heightened just like in 1999. When the weight of the diagnosis hit, the tablecloth at the restaurant was whiter than I ever observed, the bread crumbs were more noticeable and the swirls in the butter seemed to capture what was going on.
The feelings that came over me were twofold: a concern for the future and regret for a past that I squandered with my wife.
With tears in my eyes, I apologized to my bride for not appreciating our relationship more when there was no cancer. I told her that I wished I had that time back, and I vowed to take care of her.
While our future looks good, for the most part; I just wish that my sense of urgency for the for the relationship with my wife was as pronounced before the cancer as it is now.