Thursday, May 12, 2016

The good stuff

  It has been almost 6 months since dad passed away. It has been a hard six months. My mom and dad had been together since my mom was 14 years old and they married shortly after she graduated from high school. She has lost her very best friend in the world. When my band formed in 1996 my brother played bass and my dad played rhythm guitar. Although dad quit playing a couple years ago losing him kind of took the wind out of our sails. We have practiced a few times since his passing but it's hard to find the motivation to book a gig.            Dad only lived 4 months from the time he was diagnosed. He never had the opportunity to take a trip or do any of the things he would have liked to do. The slope was slippery and dad couldn't find his footing.
Taken 6 months before he passed! We love you dad!! 

   I love the song "The Good Stuff" by Kenny Chesney. It is the story of a guy who goes to the bar after his first marital spat and asks for the good stuff. The old bar keeper pours him a glass of milk and they sit and chat about all the good stuff in love and life. The song hits home at the moment and I am somewhat teary eyed as I write.
   I have said many times that this disease changed my life for the better. The truth is that this disease caused me to be like my dad always was. My dad was an everyday hero. He worked hard, provided for his family, and he was always the guy who would answer the phone at 2:00 a.m. and be there for a friend. They just don't make men like dad anymore.
   It has been 9 years, 11 months, and 7 days since my diagnosis. I don't often talk about my life before cancer. The reason for that is there is really not much good to tell. Four years prior to my diagnosis I had lost everything to drug addiction. A three-year addiction to methamphetamine caused me to lose my home and everything I valued. 10 months prior to my diagnosis I was living in somebody else's garage. During that dark time in my life I thought I wanted to die.  I even attempted suicide. Oddly enough the day I tried to kill myself, August 20, 2005. Was the last day I ever used. A month after getting clean I could afford to activate my cell phone. After activating it I changed my voicemail. It went something like this. "
Hi, you have reached Todd. I have been making some changes in my life. If I don't call you back, consider yourself part of that change!"
   My path to the good stuff started August 21, 2005! It has been nothing but good stuff ever since. 
   I met my wife in December of 05, the weekend after my birthday. She knew the day we met that we would be together. It took me a couple months longer to figure it out. I have never claimed to be bright! Our life together is the good stuff that I speak of. It's not always easy. Cancer took away a great deal of out intimacy but not all of it. Our life is filled with friend, family, and adventure. We collect memories instead of collecting things. I am blessed that even after 10 years of cancer, I can still go to work every day. Our jobs provide us the ability to travel wherever we want to go. It's a wonderful life. 
   Often when faced with darkness and unable to see the light ahead, despair causes people to lose hope and give up. It happened to me. I gave up. Had it not been for a guardian angel I might not be here to experience the blessing my life has become. It just goes to show that even during the darkest of nights, the sun  will rise in the morning. We only have to hang in there until it does.
There is hope! Hold on to the good stuff!