Chip is hijacking Sheila’s blog for today and today only. He does not share Sheila’s talent when it comes to writing and he knows it, so please excuse his poor prose. – Team Kennett’s CIO
Earlier this week, on our way back from my appointment in Philadelphia, Sheila and I came to a fork in the road, and I took the road less traveled. By less traveled, I mean a road we had never been on before. Despite having made the same exact drive over a dozen times, rather than heading south to Washington, DC, we were flying down 476N towards Allentown, PA. I’d like to think my error had something to do with the fact that I was concentrating on my conference call, but anyone who knows me and my sense of direction, or lack thereof, won’t believe that.
It wasn’t until I got off of the phone, after a good 25 – 30 minutes of driving, that I realized we were not on our way home. After informing Sheila of my mistake, it became apparent we would not be able to make it home in time to put Crosby down. Whenever we make a day trip to Philly together, it is always our goal to return in time to perform our normal nighttime routine with the kids. It is not only good for the kids, but it is also therapeutic for the two of us after spending hours at a cancer hospital. Even on the days when the doctors have good news, like this past Wednesday, these visits are an emotionally exhausting experience.
I am joking about it now, but at the time, I couldn’t have been more pissed at myself and frustrated with the situation. We obviously have a better appreciation of what really matters these days and getting lost doesn’t usually fall into that category, but we have gone to great lengths to ensure this awful disease has had little to no impact on the kids, and my thick-headedness had done just that. Thankfully, Sheila was right there beside me to reign me back in, calm me down and make me smile. Over the past nine months we have faced a few wrong turns, but through it all, Sheila has been right there beside me providing me with the strength I need to keep moving forward.
Being forced into the situation I now find myself in has caused me to do a lot of reflecting and taking stock. I have been truly blessed and am grateful for all that I have been given, but one gift, specifically one day stands out amongst all others. It was six years ago today that Sheila and I were joined by some of our closest friends and family in Georgetown where we laughed and danced the night away celebrating our marriage.
That night I gave a toast to Sheila. It was unprepared and spur of the moment, but I nailed it. I told everyone there about Sheila’s infectious personality, how, if you are in a room with her, you can’t help but want to be around her; how she has a unique quality of making those who are close to her feel better about themselves; how she can, and takes great pride in, not only making you laugh, but usually doing so in a slightly inappropriate manner which usually catches folks off guard – I really love it when she does this. And I obviously mentioned how breathtakingly beautiful she is. In other words, I nailed it because it was easy. All I had to do was describe the Sheila everyone knows and loves.
Six years of marriage hardly makes me an expert, but in my humble opinion, getting married is easy. Staying married and more importantly, staying happily married takes a lot of work. And as I have learned, staying married in the face of serious adversity takes at least one extremely special partner. I knew how fortunate I was to have found Sheila long before I was diagnosed, or at least I thought I did. Over the past nine months, she has demonstrated a level of strength and love that is truly inspiring. I would like to say I wasn’t in any way surprised by her, but no one ever really expects they will find themselves in the situation we ended up in. Last October I knew there was no else I wanted to be by my side during this journey, but what she has done for me and for our family has literally been life saving.
I pray no one reading this blog is ever faced with the set of circumstances we are currently facing, but I do sincerely hope you have the opportunity to experience the unconditional love and support Sheila has given me.