The year is 2007. The Year of the Pig. And for me, the year of Hell, death, regret, and living fuller and stronger.
February 2007---into the hospital for a 7,000 dollar hernia operation. Pain was terrible and continues to be bothersome at times.
April 2007--A co-worker , Gary, is diagnosed with stomach cancer. We will beat it!
April 2007--A friend is killed in a car accident. Ryan was a teacher and his last words were "I love my life".
May 2007--I respond to a rescue at Devils Garden with CPR in progress. Ends up being a teacher with his students. The funeral service of Ryan is returned to my lobe and I break down on the trail out. The week didn't get any better.
May 2007 or may be April 2007--Gary undergoes surgery to remove his stomach. Upon opening him up, the doctor is shocked and removes his stomach and half his pancreas. Gary is given one year to live.
May 2007--A bunch of us participate in the Relay For Life in honor of Gary. We raised 3,500 dollars + for cancer. It was a remarkable event. Gary, a week out of the hospital, did the survivor lap and the last morning lap. His pace was hard to keep up with.
June 2007--Gary has developed additional lumps in his stomach region. Gary is given 3-4 months to live without treatment. Treatment would add 2 weeks. They forgo treatment. Gary returns to his stomping grounds in the East and enjoys days of fishing.
June 2007--Someone, Owen, else I went to school with dies in a car accident.
July 2, 2007--Gary journeys on into his next world looking upon us. His memorial service is a gathering of love, friendship, and his spirit.
And today is July 14, 2007---my tears have slowed, my heart has stopped hurting as much, my hernia pain comes and goes still, but I am feeling better. I have learned to stop and smell the roses more, take that extra moments for me, love the Earth more, and realize I am still alive and must go on.
And so that is what I am doing day by day. Each day I wake up and life gets better. I will always have those memories of those people who have gone before me, but they have all taught me to live life to the fullest and fight until the end.
May your 2007 from now on be a great one as I know mine will.