Feeling good today. I have to go in and get poked for a blood test but at least the phlebotomist is pretty. Unless I get Brunhilda with her needle the size of a 16 penny nail.

I’ll be working on my book today. I say working because that is what it is. There was a book published in the seventies called “The Joy of Sex”. Now that’s understandable. But if there’s one called “The Joy of Writing” the author is obviously in need of serious therapy.

As I sit here writing this blog I can’t help but think of my wife. I drove her to town this morning and watched her disappear into the building where she works. She is holding off her retirement to help keep our finances intact while I sit here at home typing on this computer. I sometimes feel a bit guilty: her working so hard and me having the freedom to get up, roam around the house, and even flake out watching a movie instead of writing. (Don’t tell her I do that last one!)

Her life is more structured than mine, making her get up every morning, even though she’s tired, and spend the day at work.

We have been friends nearly all our lives. I’ve known her for 60 of my 65 years. It’s probably that friendship that has saved our marriage. I’ve not always been the best of husbands but she has stuck with me. She’s a tough, little Icelandic gal with a brave and loyal heart. I don’t deserve her. That’s why I do the dishes, clean the house, and feed her; hopefully all that will give her a reason to keep me around.

Kidding aside, I appreciate all she is doing for me, for us.

Love you, babe.

My Mom and Dad

I visited my parent’s grave this weekend. I hadn’t been there since we buried them six years ago. It’s so odd. The people who raised me, who were the center of my life – just gone.

This whole mortality thing is weird. I mean, how can a person be alive one moment and gone the next? Why do even the healthy grow old and fade away? What’s the point?

I guess the point is, what matters is, that we make a difference while we’re here; leave a legacy for others to remember and to be blessed by. I don’t know if there is anything for us after we die but perhaps that is enough. Even if there is nothing more, our life, our legacy means a lot.

I know my parents had a lasting effect on my life. I will never forget them. Neither will my children. And their children will be told of them. I’ve written some posts about my dad (here and here) and one about my mom (here). They were good people.

I loved them.

My daughter, her husband, and their two children moved in with us while their new house was being built. This physical closeness (there were six of us in a very small house!) gave us all a chance to develop a spiritual closeness as well.

My daughter has a wonderful heart and cares deeply about almost everything. I, of course, already knew this – I raised her after all – but living in such close quarters I was reminded of it.

One evening in particular we were watching a movie in which the main character got cancer. When I see such a movie of course it makes me think of my situation with leukemia. But I’m still at a stage where I feel pretty good most of the time and I don’t have to always focus on my health. So I forget that others are affected by my illness, in someways even more deeply than myself.

Anyway, after the movie was done I went into the kitchen to get something and she followed me in. Her eyes were wet with tears as she hugged me saying she didn’t want to lose me. We stood there hugging for a short while and I tried to reassure her that I had many years left and everything would be okay.

But this loving moment she gave me served to remind me how deeply this leukemia thing is affecting my family. When I’m having good days I wish there was a way to really make them understand that I’m doing well. I mean, I do have days when I get tired easily or have other annoying issues, but the leukemia is a part of me now and, fortunately for the time being, Leuk is taking it relatively easy on me.

So I forget the reality of it all. It might sound strange to those who don’t have leukemia, but there are times when I feel quite normal and forget I have it. But my words are never adequate to express how I’m thinking inside. And naturally no one has the ability to really feel what I’m feeling.

I guess what I’m getting at is this wonderful woman, my daughter, was expressing with tears and worry and sadness, her love for me. I will be forever grateful for that love, and the love I receive from all my family. But my hope is that my daughter, my son, my wife, and the rest of the family can somehow really understand where I’m at.

I love them all so much and I must remember that Leuk has invaded their lives too. My loving daughter’s tears made that very clear.

So thank you my family. I love you all so much. And try not to worry too much. My CLL might just continue moving slowly and I’ll make it to a ripe old age. Or Leuk could pick up speed and I will have fewer years than expected. Either way it will be alright because the one thing he can’t take away is the love we all share.

Snow on evergreen treeI hope you all had a Merry Christmas. I’m posting this on Boxing Day because I’ve been away for the season seeing family and away from my computer.

My Christmas was great. We celebrated my son’s birthday and then watched his boys (my grandchildren) for three days relieving him and his wife to do a little traveling. When they got back we exchanged Christmas presents on the eve of Christmas eve. Then traveled back home to spend Christmas with our daughter’s family.

I’ve always appreciated my family. I’ve always loved them. But the leukemia has made my family all the more important to me. Time with them takes precedence over everything.

And guess what. Throughout the whole season I didn’t think of Leuk once. Well, maybe a little bit when I came down with this darn cold. It’s always a little freaky catching a cold when you know your immune systems isn’t what it used to be. But I seem to be getting better so all is well.

Anyway, I hope Christmas was good for you too.

Godspeed.

Turkey cartoonI hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. Mine was great. My wife, kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids were all there. Our tiny house was crammed full of family and love.

My wife and I are called Amma and Afi. That’s Icelandic for Grandma and Grandpa. We’ve reached that point in life where we can relax and enjoy all we have. Of course, everyone should do that regardless of age but it is twice as good when the demands of life are less and there is time for contemplation and appreciation. Even Leuk was far from my mind that day.

Leukemia has a way of making me appreciate what I have. My perceived limitation of time until ‘D-day’ makes me even more focused on the blessings at hand. So much of the stuff that really matters, the really important stuff that my formally busy life kept me from appreciating, is now at the forefront. Life is good.

I say that despite the leukemia. There are of course days when Leuk brings me down and I get into a real pity party, but most days not.

Thanksgiving Day comes around every November to make us stop and be grateful for what we have. Leuk is always with us but he can’t take who we are away. Not if we focus on being grateful.

I hope that day brought you a healing moment of thankfulness too.