Monday, June 9, 2008

The Good and the Not-So-Good: For Peggy

This past weekend a lot happened: some good and some not-so-good.

Friday (6.6.2008) my parents, still so young at heart and in attitude, set off for nearly two weeks of diving in the Galapagos Islands: you go guys! Saturday, I rode in the Capital City Ride for Hope Metric Century (just about 60 miles). My friend Karin (same girl who shepherded me through the Blue Line 100 in March) and I finished in 3:46:14! Nearly 20 minutes faster than in March. It was awesome; beautiful; full of friendly people; a fair number of Survivor Participants, and people I already knew from "Marathon Land" or "Tri Land." Wow!

I have had this ride on my calendar for a while. I originally thought I could do it last year on my mountain bike. And, then something - who remembers what - happened, and I didn't go. This year I wanted to do it for several reasons, not the least of which is the Cause. Yes, the Cause - me and my causes. This ride benefits the Moffitt Cancer Center at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. My friend Tiffany A. was treated there for Cervical Cancer; my friend Stephanie Corry was treated there for Breast Cancer; and I am sure that many of my "friends and family" that are survivors have been treated there. 'Nuff said. More significantly, I rode this ride in honor of two people: My mother, and Cathy's mother, Peggy. I could have put a hundred names on my "In Honor Of" bib, but I chose only two.

My mother is a Breast Cancer Survivor, and is going like gang busters. Cathy's mother had been a Breast Cancer Survivor for more than 11 years before the monster came back in a more aggressive, long-lasting, metastasized form. Many years ago, Cathy and I had just started down the road to "Marathon Land" when her mother received this diagnosis. She hung out with us for far, far longer than the original 18 months to two years she was first given. Thank God! We, and I say we because so many of us used her as inspiration, had time to show her how important she was to Cathy, Michele, and the rest of her family - real and "extended." Always remember, our mothers deserve to know that we value them, what they offer to our lives, and their will to survive. They need to know that we love them, and that while we may not have undergone chemo or radiation, we will persevere and endure for them.

Anyway, Saturday afternoon, on the way home from the bike shop with Colin's newly tuned-up bike, I stopped by Cathy's house to give her my race bib and "Honor" bib. I told her that I knew there really wasn't anything I could do "for" her or her mom, but I could do this ride. So, I had done it. I wanted her and and her mom to know that I have been thinking of them since the very beginning, and that they are important to me. I walked down the hall to Peggy's room, and while I was prepared for what I would see, Cathy was right: it was a bit shocking to see a shell of the person I had come to know fairly well for so many years. I held her hand, told her that I had been thinking of her, and had wanted to come by and see her. I told her we loved her, and I walked away. It was the last time I saw her alive.

Sunday evening, about 6:00 p.m. Cathy says, her mother finally left this material world for a far better place. She has received the Heavenly relief to her battered and broken body, because I know she was firm and steadfast in her faith. Peggy is happy, healthy, and honored by the way her family cared for and loved her up until the absolute last breath. Mostly, she is peaceful again.

Nana, as her grandchildren and my Boys called her, will leave a great void in the lives of all those she knew and touched. She sang in a choir group called HeartSong, until just very recently; she travelled to and from Maryland to spend quality time with her grandchildren; she enjoyed the beach, music, and a good book.

I will miss her. My Boys will miss her. And, we weren't even her "real" family. That just goes to show how many people she touched, and how much she is loved.

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Mac's "SwimSTRONG" Foundation

Mac's "SwimSTRONG" Foundation
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