Today dawned clear & cold (32 f) and I recalled Jan 1, 2020, which now it is such a wonderful memory.
In 2020 Rick had just completed his first round of chemo and his ‘markers were down’ (indicating his tumor was possibly shrinking). He could now digest food and the pain meds were helping – we had hope. Rick was even being active in the virtual game he loved, and it was his wish to get up before dawn on Jan 1 to strategically ‘set up a field’. Rick even drove his beast of a Nissan Pathfinder that morning.
We arrived at a regional park (with spotty WIFI/cell reception) before sunrise and Rick got busy setting up satellite & booster equipment at various places. (Now I wish I had kept all pictures from that morning, of Rick in his ‘nerd mode’.)
In that remote place- at least while we were out there -it seemed for Rick there was no such thing as cancer or pain. And I was glad he was so focused on getting the signal to work to play his game. I had walked to the edge of the lake while Rick went back & forth adjusting the settings on devices on the dock and path.
I felt a sense of relief in seeing Rick back to his hobby, and the distance allowed me to drop my façade of bravery. I remember standing there in the cold before the sun rose, tearfully sending up fervent prayers for Rick’s health to return and then prayers of gratitude for the love we shared. I wanted to rip my chest open so my heartfelt prayers could be even stronger. I can go back to that feeling in a heartbeat.
This is a blurry photo of that morning that I had not shared before. Rick’s red nose shows how cold it was but his fur-lined hat gives no indication that most of his hair had fallen out 2 days before. And thankfully on that day Rick thought (and I hoped beyond hope) that there would be more of these nerdy adventures in Rick’s future. Sadly, this would be Rick’s last backcountry adventure. But I am glad that when he stated his wish for that first day of January that I had listened, and I had swallowed my urge to keep him warm and resting at home. I am so glad to have been his partner in mischief once again and to be with him to greet the first sunrise of 2020.