Grateful

Long past midnight, hanging out with Dad, I’m taking a few moments to reflect upon the summer. Kris, kids, and I were living on auto-pilot in July, when we got news that Dad was sick—life and death sick.

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We flew to Utah to spend what we believed might be our final moments with Dad. Gratefully, he’s hanging on. It’s now mid-September. Dad’s still kicking, even if it’s not like he used to. Last fall, Dad dug 700 pounds of his own potatoes. Yesterday, hooked up to his portable oxygen tank, he dug three plants before falling on his butt.

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Kids don’t want to see their parents slow down and move on. We certainly wouldn’t wish on anyone the suffering that Dad is experiencing. But Dad’s illness has drawn our family closer together—both physically and closer as a family. We now share the blessing of being with Mom and Dad virtually 24/7, seven days a week.

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Being in Utah has added a new dimension to our training for our transcon run. David trained hard with Rob’s high school cross-country team before returning to Sitka. I enjoyed running some trails with Rob’s team, but lately, to save time, I’ve taken to pounding the pavement and the mosquitos near Rob and Stacy’s house. After running Sitka’s forest trails for the past decade, running on Utah’s straight roads, mile after mile, ain’t much fun by comparison. But my lungs are strong and I’m not falling on my butt, for which I am most grateful.

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Yesterday afternoon, I grabbed hold of Rob’s bike and a few spare hours, and I pedaled out to Buffalo Point on Antelope Island. I loved pedaling to the Island with my brothers and friends as a kid, I loved pedaling there (or almost there) last week with Erika and Russell, and I love it still today. Like life, the Island is buggy, stinky, pristine, amazing, and wild.

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All in all, life is short. But that’s all right. Today is the day I’m living. It’s all I’ve got. It’s all any of us have. Paraphrasing Ekhart Tolle: everything that has ever happened, happened in the Now. I’m grateful for today, grateful to be with Mom and Dad now, grateful for warm air in the day and cool air at night. Grateful for sunrises and sunsets, beginnings and ends. Grateful for endless fresh dug potatoes, corn, peaches, and endless tomatoes. Grateful to so many people who enrich my life.

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Grateful for Kris and our kids.

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It’s 2 am. Dad’s asleep again . . . for now. Not a bad idea. Good-night, all.

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