I can’t believe I almost missed it.
It was in a reusable bag of old receipts and household manuals squashed beneath the vacuum cleaner at the bottom of the hall closet.
Months had gone by since Chad last wandered around the apartment, and week by week (and only when I felt up for it) I’d try to clean our things up. I’d toss out gadgets, old manuals and any other junk-drawer worthy items I didn’t understand why my slight hoarder of a boyfriend decided to keep. Though I didn’t change where we (he) had stored anything, if I didn’t know what it was I’d toss it.
I couldn’t take another week fighting the tangled bag handles to get the vacuum out of the already too small closet. So I reached down and yanked the bag from under the vacuum. Letting the vacuum drop to the floor, I started pulling out loose pieces of paper confirming there weren’t any manuals, bills or perhaps an old birthday card I needed to keep.
I was one of my combination moments when I had such conflicting emotions I didn’t know what to feel. I was pissed off that Chad had left me to clean our house by myself, left me to decide whether or not this paper was useful or I’d need it in the future and just pissed that I was in our home without him.
I was also drenched with curiosity, flipping the paper from front to back hoping to catch reminders of what Chad’s handwriting looked like, wishing there would be something worth preserving.
Then my hand and eyes reached it at the same time. It was the blue cover, spiral bound journal I had seen Chad tuck into his bed side drawer in his old studio apartment.
Chad kept all his journals and close-to-his-heart photos, cards and letters in his bed side table – and though I had gone through them recently, I always put them back in their designated storage place when I was done.
What the hell is this doing in this bag? I answered my own question. Obviously he didn’t know it was there and would be a nugget of gold for his survived girlfriend. It must have been tossed in there with the intention of recovery at some point…whenever that would be.
I can’t believe I almost missed this. I repeated to myself as I thumbed through its pages.
Hand written completed and uncompleted journal entries, spanning over a three year period from 2006 – 2009. My mind flashed with scenes over the years we had lived together of Chad writing in the journal – never knowing the details of what he was writing but always hoping he’d one day share them with me.
After a dozen or so entries, the pages turned blank again. Learning from my lesson minutes earlier – I continued through the journals pages double checking there wasn’t anything else I had missed.
I perked up again when the last few pages had more writing. I interpreted his use of those pages as a re-start; re-collecting his thoughts as other entries had similarly indicated.
The last entries made my hands go clammy.
July 19, 2009
I have a story to share. I’m not sure how it ends, but maybe thats not y part to tell. Im a 34 year old man who has an amazing family and loving girlfriend. I own my apartment with a small mortgage, by today’s standards. I drive a fancy sports car and have money in the bank. I’m a lucky guy in many ways and appreciate everything I have when able to enjoy it.
The truth is though ^I cant take another day living being sick. I have nothing without good health.
I was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer when I was 26 years old. I was given 15 months to live unless I underwent aggressive treatment. I’ve spent so much of the past 8 years being sick I have trouble focusing on the good moments. When I have been well I live hard and am focusing on living life to the fullest.
I dont know what my destination is in sharing my thoughts
Publish this book when the time is right
Chad had talked about writing a book one day but we both agreed that when his battle has calmed and control of his fight had been reclaimed – that was when the time would be right.
Since he’d left, Jen and I had talked recording all of Chads writing someplace that in the event of a fire or a cyber-blog crash, we’d have duplicates of his voice on paper – but nothing about a book.
I had also thought about doing some writing of my own – perhaps something more than “just blogging” – but it was only a thought.
This all happened in the early months of 2010.
“Publish this book when the time is right” has been a sentence swirling my mind, literally, every day since I first read it.
Two years later, I’ve decided to stop talking, stop wondering and guessing and actually do it.
I’m writing our book.
I am writing the story that Chad started to share. The story of his battle, the story of his success and the story of us.
Our blogs have been an incredible, unexpected source of solace and support these past two and a half years (even saying two and a half seems totally crazy – I can’t believe it’s been that long). They have helped release my thoughts and been wonderful reminders of the love and life I have experienced.
….I can not count the times I’ve gone back and re-read the comments left on our blogs – each time feeling indescribable amounts of gratitude for the support so many people (friends, family and strangers alike) have extended.
Therefore, as Chad and I have shared struggles and stories on our blogs (with friends, family and strangers alike), I will begin to share the process of writing….the book of us.