Saturday, July 4, 2009


Erin is 29 now, the age I was when you and I walked together down the aisle to take our marriage vows. Friday, November 5, 1982, the day was overcast and cool. A small gathering of family and friends joined us as we sealed our promise to love and honor each other for life.

The Hodgkin's Disease had come out of remission earlier that summer. You were having terrible back pain that soon became debilitating. A bone scan revealed a lesion on your spine that had resulted in a compression fracture. You could barely lift a gallon of milk. You needed help getting up from a prone position. The doctor ordered a course of radiation treatments to be followed up with 6 months of chemotherapy.

The four week course of radiation therapy ended on your 30th birthday, two days before we wed. Chemotherapy treatments were scheduled to begin the following Monday. Because of the intense back pain, you were unable to work. I was employed at the time as a dental lab technician. Thankfully, your uncle Hank was available to drive you the two hours to Peoria every two weeks for chemo.

For three days after treatment, you were extremely ill. The days were getting shorter and it was dark outside by dinner time. On those days you were in bed when I returned home from work. I would go to you and offer what little support I could. You often asked me to read to you from the bible. You said it comforted you to hear my voice as you sought solace in God's words.

Soon the combination of radiation and chemotherapy destroyed the tumor adhered to your spine. The terrible pain subsided and you were able to return to work at Carlson's Auto Body.

Over the course of our 6 1/2 year marriage, we were confronted with the ups and downs of living with a life-threatening disease. Each reoccurrence of the illness was a difficult and trying time, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Life for us was a roller coaster ride of hope and despair, encouragement and distress.

But there was an oasis of grace in the midst of all the turmoil. When you were down, I consoled you. When I was down, you comforted me. We were never in the depths of hopelessness together. One was always able to reach in and help the other along when we needed encouragement to keep going. It made all the difference.