|Mrs P and Elvin|
|"Pa" with his pride and joy|
|Fat Man dying... 2008|
Sure, I'm grateful to be alive. But it's hard to see much justice in it.
My nephew the Preacher says that God saved me for a reason. I hope he's right. I ask myself every day what that reason might be. Maybe I can give people hope. I can make my life an example, a witness to the fact that even the least deserving Fat Man can keep fighting. You don't have to give up. You don't have to be a slave to food or tobacco or work or your own guilt and sadness. Not even to cancer. You can find help. You can find love. You are not beyond hope.You can get up and run. I hope that's what people see when they see me running or acting or holding hands with my wife, or cutting up in the back row. I hope they find it here on FMR. I hope they see it, when I give them hell for smoking or invite them to join me for a walk or sit silently with them as they wrestle with their own fear of dying. I hope they see that they can fight for their own life, like the five of us did. We fought the bastard to the end. Today, our cancers are dead, but we are still alive. I'm still running, and Alan and Doug and Catherine and Elvin are "dancing around the throne of Jesus," like the Preacher says. None of us were perfect. I was the least perfect of all. I still am. But God saved me to tell our story. Maybe to be a small part of your story.
Cancer killed four of us. But it didn't beat any of us. It couldn't. We refused to give up. We were hundreds of miles apart, but we five still gave one another the strength to keep fighting. And God gave us the strength to help each other. I am here because of them. I can keep running because of them.
And now, so can you.
God, please bless Elvin and Catherine and Alan and Doug. You chose each for a special ministry in this world, and they did their best to serve you. They are with you now, and we are left behind to try to make some sense of the way they lived and the way they died. We are left to remember them with laughter and tears, and to honor them with lives that are better because we knew them. Lord, help us to keep their love alive as we share it with one another. Help us to fight against cancer and all the things that would rob us of the life you created in us. And Lord, if you have the time, please let them know that we love them. We miss them. That we can't wait to see them again. And especially, that we are so very, very grateful for all that they gave us during our too short time together. And please ask that calf to forgive old Elvin for stuffing her into his little Datsun car. He didn't mean no harm by it.