Update 4/25/01: Well, today is the anniversary of Hope's leukemia diagnosis -- the day our lives changed forever. It is hard to imagine a day that would change my outlook, assumptions, and future so much. In the first few days of her diagnosis, the realization that Hope could die was horrific. But after the initial shock, we began to realize that even if she did die, it would be years away. The expectation was that we were going to be dealing with cancer for many years, and it most likely would be very difficult. Fast forward a year, and I never would have imagined that I would long for those days of dealing with cancer in my child. Sharolyn and I were reminiscing last night about all the good times we had with Hope at the hospital. There's some irony in the fact that what would normally be considered the worst period in our life, is in many ways one of the best. Hope with cancer was a million times better than no Hope at all. The thought for the day is "live for now" -- enjoy today, appreciate what you have, and don't just save things for a special occasion because you never know what tomorrow will bring.
Update 6/5/01: I made it! I completed the Team-in-Training 100-mile (century) bike ride in Lake Tahoe on June 3rd. This is touted as "America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride" and I have no doubts about that -- it was truly beautiful. I raised over $7500 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (thanks to all who contributed!), and the 1200 TNT riders that went to the event raised $4.5 million! Pictures from the event can be found here. The team wore "In Memory of Hope" buttons created by my mentor (thanks Elena!) during the ride.
Update 7/20/01: I'm beginning to realize that time does not make things better. Dealing with Hope's death can be described as a rollercoaster, but the dips do not get shallower each time. We miss her immensely. The magnitude of the loss can be overwhelming.
Update 9/14/01: The rollercoaster reaches a highpoint: we welcome Summer Grace Browning. Born Sept. 14th, 1:04pm - 7lbs 13oz. Hope is a big sister, she would be SO proud!
Update 4/25/02: Two years since diagnosis -- it seems like it's been five (or more). Time has certainly deadened the pain, but the loss of feeling is both good and bad. The sharp edges of grief are gone, but so is the richness of the tremendous love that Hope provided. Sharolyn was asked to speak at the local American Cancer Society Relay for Life tomorrow night. We were going to collaborate on her speech, but once I read it, I knew there was no way I could improve on it. I've included it below. This speech reminded me of an article she wrote for the Candlelighters newsletter in the summer of 2000 about Hope's diagnosis. It too, is another example of her expressiveness that I cannot match and so much admire. It is also included below.
Sharolyn's Candlighters Newsletter Article - July 2000
Sharolyn's Relay for Life Speech - April 2002
Sharolyn's Light the Night Speech - August 2003
Duke Rides in the 2005 Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope
Sharolyn's Tour of Hope Friends and Family Night Speech - October 2005