Good Morning...it is 30 April and its projected to be 80 degrees in DC today. Its bike weather... no doubt.
Last evening I had the pleasure of chatting with a cousin in Florida...Scott True. We were very close growing up as kids...only a few years difference in age...he had been alerted to my condition via the "family tree" - my Dad to his Mom...through his brother...and so on. He also saw and read my Blog and when my profile came up on Facebook we knew it was time to chat.
Scott is the third of 5 grandkids to our Grandmother, Ruth, and like all of us Scott was very close with her. I could tell that some of the words in my writings regarding Nan touched him as they have me over the past several weeks. At times like this...emotions and memories speak louder then the words that are written.
It was very difficult for me to express to Scott not only what is going on but how you feel at a time like this. I have never been one of those "warm, touchy guys" but with certain family members and friends you need to be able to express your feelings.
Last night was very difficult for me with Scott...all I could do was try to hold back from breaking down. The emotions that were present when we talked about our kids and how the time with them quickly passes; what the future holds for them...and more importantly...being with the children as they mature to face life's challenges...all of it came to light in our discussion...and it hit hard.
Through all the stories about Nan and growing up together, Scott pointed out that he was on my first date with Jake and Ian's Mom (Sheila) when we went skiing in MA...I had totally forgotten about that! He went on the relate with vivid clarity the events and how when the three of us came back to Nan's house after a day on the slopes Sheila was subsequently "grilled" by the family...her first introduction the Hayes/True clan. I had forgotten about that one too...but no doubt Sheila never has!
Thank you Scott...
Another great guy from my past appeared last night courtesy of Facebook...Eric Casper.
Eric and I go way back to our times in the Department of Defense and our work in the Biological Weapons Facility Program in the former Soviet Union. It was good to "talk" with him and read his comments. Eric was like another little brother for me and for Scott Harvey. You could tell that this "kid" was going to be someone...he had that unmistakable... "it" ... and based on his current position within the federal government...we were right.
Eric was there with us in Uzbekistan in 2002 when we were removing anthrax from a former weapons testing facility...he was cool, calm and collected as the operation progressed and was subsequently decorated for his achievement. I look back fondly on many of the pictures and memories of that time and see a rookie who matured into a fine leader. You get a sense of satisfaction knowing that you were right in your assessment of people...in Eric's case it was not about being right...it was only a matter of when.
I am going to take off to watch the kid's lacrosse games later today as well as visit with friends...and then I will spend the weekend with the boys. It is anticipated that Saturday evening we will tell them of the severity of my condition and what the timeline will be. I have spent countless hours thinking of this moment and what to say to them...how they will respond...and what the weeks and months ahead will hold in store for them.
It is not easy...far from it.
Reliving the memories of ones past; your accomplishments; your failures...and those things left undone can occupy your being for days. Telling your children that in the not too distant future...you will not be there...is one of the most difficult things a parent can do...and places your whole life in perspective.
My only saving grace in this whole ordeal is that there will be family and friends there for them when I depart...and that means so much to me...as it soon will to them as well.
Thank you...and Warmest Regards