Tragedy's Gift: A Cancer Survival Story  

Tragedy's Gift

From the Preface:
Maybe this was Heaven, and I really did die, and now I get to realize my wildest dreams. Imagine me, sitting in a seat directly behind Garth Brooks, nominated for "New Male Vocalist of the Year." Imagine me, on an awards show I had watched time and time again on TV in my living room.

I had so many mixed emotions that night. The excitement of being somewhere I had fantasized about my entire life, sitting among my heroes who were now considered my peers. Let's face it, it's not every day that someone like me has moments like these.

I was sitting next to my dad, watching him enjoy this adventure as much if not more than I was. I cringed as I watched him tap Garth on the shoulder numerous times to ask questions. I felt embarrassed like in those crazy nightmares where I had just walked into school and forgot my pants! But the thrill lessened any feelings other than unbelievable.

Then it hit me. This couldn't be Heaven because I also felt a sadness welled up inside me as I remembered the loss of my dear friend and an important part of my management team, Jeff Yoke, who died in a car crash just two days earlier while picking up my tuxedo for this glamorous event. His efforts were a part of the reason I was able to be in this place.

All of these emotions bubbling around inside of me must be the reason for the tears streaming down my face. Joy with sadness, pleasure with pain. I was no stranger to these ironies. Up to this point, my life was full of them.

From "On The Move:"
Certain things were important to my mother. She wanted us to have dinner together as a family. We always went to church on Sunday. But most of all, even from the earliest age, she wanted us to be conscientious and to choose to do the right thing. Looking back on that now, I am sure that my sense of responsibility and challenge to be an upright person was developed during that stage in my life.

After dinner on Saturday nights was an event for us; when I was still school-aged, my mom would draw a bath and, one at a time, she would take the younger ones into the tub, wash us down, and then wrap us in a towel. It was only after I was a little older that I realized the importance of being close to first in the lineup, as she would use the same water for all of us! I don't know if I recall that experience with fondness or not!

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